I've avoided writing about this topic because it has been too difficult to do so. I received word about a month ago that Surry's Division Belle, a daughter of Ch. Surry's Interstellar Overdrive, was attacked by other Labradors and died from her injuries.
Belle's story is one that has haunted me for a long time. It started when she was sold to a couple who wanted to show her. I won't go into the specifics here, but the situation proved to be one in which Belle was not what the couple wanted. I co-owned Belle and after much discussion with the couple, it was agreed that she would go to a friend of theirs who trained dogs and promised to give Belle a good home.
And this is where I am at fault. Rather than buy Belle back from the couple, I talked to the lady who wanted Belle, and agreed that it was best that she go to this new home. All seemed to be going well until I heard that she had been attacked by her dogs, was severely injured, and subsequently died.
I am convinced that the lady who had Belle is indeed heartbroken about this. But I am also convinced that such a tragedy could have been prevented--if I had bought Belle back and brought her to Surry to live out her life.
Over my years as a breeder, I have only had a few bad experiences. And the ones that weigh heavy on me are with those individuals to whom I've sold a dog to "show". No bad experiences have been had with those friends of mine who were showing and got a puppy from me. The problems were with individuals who I didn't know personally but who wanted to get started in the breed.
I know now that wise words told to me by an old timer years ago ring true--Never sell a puppy for show, unless you know the individual well and count them as your friend. Even then, be cautious and have everything in writing.
Poor Belle--you deserved a lot better.