Article #2 - "Ignorance is Expensive"
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must stand up and be counted. Does he believe in the words he mouths, or is he only doing lip service? Trying to straddle the fence and then fall in whichever direction looks as though it might be most advantageous to him? This is a question each and every person must answer for himself.
As for me, I find the straddle position most uncomfortable. Despite the jibes, innuendoes, downright slander etc., that I have suffered, and will, I’m sure if the remarks made recently are true. I shall continue to be put in the position where I should defend myself against the barbs of those who feel their position precarious and to whom the truth is a light they would not like to stand in.
We have a glorious breed, and there are still some individual animals who are sound mentally, physically and emotionally - although they are rather rare. I myself own one with a good friend who bred this puppy, and if the time comes when it is no longer sound in all departments I shall cope with this at that time. Last year I had a lovely bitch, with a lot of my old breeding and she failed to live up to the ideal, temperament-wise, and had about as much character as “Casper Milktoast” so I had her put to sleep, mercifully, quickly and easily. I do put my money where my mouth is - and she would have passed the easy examination-test our dogs are now obliged to endure, and she was sound going and coming, and had a much better than average sidegait. BUT she was not right in the head or somewhere and I can’t use that kind for anything. And who is kidding who? Who wants to breed that kid, or live with them? We have enough psychotic people and dogs without compounding the error. Having another “champion” simply is not the important to me.
As a friendly competitor from years gone by remarked after a recent specialty show I judged, “Why are you so surprised? I f you had been around ten, twenty or thrity years ago you would know that Virginia judges exactly the same now as then. She is the first, in this country, I think, to bring the dogs out to the center of the ring ans she still excuses those who can’t measure up to her gentle approach. She still will not consider cripples - in any department. If she can detect it, she penalizes it, and she doesn’t give a darn who shows them. Watch her and you’ll see.”
Not too sorry and evaluation and if those who criticize me for it can find a valid reason for their criticism let them speak up and be recognized.
I had nothing to do with the current “beefing up” of the Standard. It is not an arbitrary thing; we all received notice that those dogs who can’t be examined easily MUST BE EXCUSED. Not “may be” or “can be” but MUST BE. Those who wish to report me to the AKC, please do so. I can only imagine what this August body will have to say to you in rebuttal. YOU voted on it. You demanded it. NOW you have it and don’t like it when it affects you. As I said at Kansas City, “IF you want the physically and emotionally crippled dogs to win then change the standard again - but I further suggest this might be fairly difficult to do with the AKC, but do NOT expect me to go along with it. I SHALL NOT.
To those who tell me they are afraid to try and swim against the tide and that nothing will ever be done , I say that I am NOT afraid and am still enough of an idealist and with enough faith in the German shepherd dog people to believe we can do something. At least I’m not afraid to try - and shall live or die with my own convictions.
To those who say that they will “get me out of dogs in a year” I reply - go ahead and try. This has been going on for 35 years and I am still around and I’m still standing up and speaking for those normal dogs who cannot speak for themselves. No physical cripple is anything but in pain, and no emotional and mental cripple is anything but an unhappy, maladjusted specimen and I am not propagating THAT.
Twenty-five years ago Mr. Grant Mann asked me if I intended to spend my life fighting for what I considered right and being an idealist, and to this I replied that I certainly did so long as there is breath in my body. When I sit down on my duff and accept the failures of others and accept them as truths and do nothing in defense of what are breed standard says our dogs should be able to do and be sound enough to do it, then I shall be a vegetable with a brainwashed mind and that I am NOT. Not yet, anyway, and God willing I shall be able to point the way to truth. If it affects my own dogs, so be it. Right is right no matter who it affects, and wrong is equally wrong. We all have breeding problems, and the resulting progeny of any good mating can have mistakes.
I suggest that there will be some horrendous stories about me, so I am prepared. As I wrote someone, “It is too bad some of the stories aren’t true; I might have fun!” but suffice it to say that I can stand the insults and behind hand laughter because it is for a good cause. Perhaps some of you will borrow some of my courage and dedication to ALL dogs, not German shepherd dogs alone. There are lots of worthy dogs of many breeds who are having problems similar to ours. Sure we have the BEST (and all dog owners fell the same way - or should) but toher breed people think so too, and whatever suits one is his “cup of tea” so to speak. As to the lady who says I am “over the hill”, she is right! I am over the hill - a very long way over from that group, and glad to be there, too. I don’t stand alone, on that I can assure you. So - a lot of people are afraid to speak out yet, but they are in the wings, ready and willing to take up the torch. To him who says that I am crazy - he is also right. I am “crazy”. I’m “crazy about” good, normal, German shepherd dogs and if this is a crime then I am the worst kind of criminal.
You see, I am not afraid to be maligned, but beware building a false premise on quicksand, for it shall not stand.