Monday, January 04, 2010

To Anonymous

Note: I received the following comment posted on December 25 regarding the death of Tilly. I did delete the comment on the post but wanted to highlight it here. It was sent by an anonymous poster:


I am wondering why you profess to be a dog-loving, ethical breeder when the truth is that your dogs NEVER step foot in your house (oh wait, you consider your attached garage the house) and you consistently sell temperament and congenitally-impaired dogs to unknowing people. Congratulations! You're a true testament to this wonderful breed. Poor Tilly deserved to live out her years in the confort of a loving home, but all she got was the hard, cold floor of a garage. Rest in peace sweet girl. May the gates of heaven show you all the life luxuries you missed living with the Wenners.

Dear Anonymous:
I am wondering whether I know you and how much time you have spent in my home. If you have, I know that you were welcomed hospitably. I wonder what I have done to you to deserve this comment. Maybe you were just having a bad Christmas. I don't suppose you would call me or email to actually let me know what the reasons were, but I would appreciate it if you would.

I'm wondering how often you visited my home over the 14 years of Tilly's life. Since it appears you have been there a lot, then you must know that the "doggy" room is heated and air conditioned, has three large dog beds, lots of toys, and music. You are right that while we were both working during the day, the older dogs spent their day in this room. Once we were home from work, they were turned out and at night come in the house. When my husband retired, Tilly and the two greyhounds were turned out in the paddocks for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Tilly especially enjoyed watching the greyhounds run around.

As far as selling impaired dogs with bad temperaments to unknowing people, I have had few complaints over all these years about the dogs. In fact, I have been most grateful that there have been so few problems. Tilly was a great producer and much of the soundness in the lines, I attribute to her. Again, I would like to talk with you since you seem to have much more information than I do. I think that it's rare indeed for any breeder to never produce a problem. In fact, I don't know of anyone who has not produced some kind of problem when breeding Labradors. These are dogs that we are breeding not machines.

About two years ago, after becoming an AKC judge, I made a decision to not breed anymore. It was a difficult decision. And it largely had to do with the stress of whelping puppies, seeing the bitches in labor, and worrying about the dogs. You probably understand this and know a lot about the trials and tribulations of breeding. It is a difficult and often heartbreaking hobby.

Well, I hope that you give me a call or email me. Maybe we can load up all the dogs and have them come to visit your house.

Best wishes to you in the coming year,
Elizabeth Wenner
Surry Labradors


Ann and Paul Key said...

Oh Betty, we're so sorry that you had to have this meaness come your way, especially at the season of the year, where we hope we will love one another. As for us, you are a breeder to whom we have looked for advice, and we consider that you have not only produced excellent Labs with fantastically gentle dispositions and beautiful appearance. We do not have a show dog, but we have the best looking house pet around, as evidenced by the comments we get daily from total strangers. We are lucky enough to own Surry's Bonnie Dubh Lass (very pretty black lady in Scottish) who is known as Neilley to all children who come up for doggie kisses and the adults you give her belly rubs at our Heelan' Hound sales tent. Neilley is the grand-daughter of Tilly, and we visited with Tilly as often as our respective schedules permitted. As for temperament, she has always been the consummate lover. We are sorry that you are not breeding Labs now, because we have met many people who would have loved to have had a Surry Labrador! Ann, Paul and The Pinkster

J said...

It always amazes me that people will post ugly comments and then not have the nerve to give their name--perhaps that is an insight into that person and carries more weight and value than the comments they left. If it's worth saying, it's worth your name, anything less is nothing more than cowardly. Betty, I don't personally know you but I do know one of your dogs. If that dog is any indication of your breeding, then my hat's off to you, she is delightful.

Concerning temperament, I don't deal with Labradors but with cattle dogs, now if you want to get into an in-depth discussion of temperament, then that breed can give you a hat full. Cattle dogs are extremely smart, stubborn, strong willed, tenacious, have a mind of their own and unfortunately have a lot of people breeding them that don't test for temperament at all but stock workability. I also rescue cattle dogs and from personal experience (and lots of temperament testing of rescue dogs) have learned cattle dogs can be categorized as having bad temperaments by some people and yet when I (and others in my rescue) get them we have found them to be totally stable, reliable, and so steady they have been successfully adopted out as working stock and family pets. This tells me a lot about temperament, 1) some people aren't good in temperament testing, 2) some dogs don't like some people and express their dislike in ways that can skew a temperament test by that person, and 3) some dogs are mishandled by people and although the dog is steady and reliable, they are ruined by the treatment they have endured. You will find the last one particularly evident in a very smart, strong willed, dominant dog--they don't tolerate mistreatment over time and adversely react; had they had better treatment, no problem would ever have surfaced. Sometimes, even these "bad" dogs can be rehabilitated (in the right hands) and go on to be a good companion dog.

My advice to you would be to disregard any comments from people ashamed to give their name, the comment is no longer valid in my opinion. And the dog world has lots of breeders, anyone who doesn't/didn't like your breed stock has every right to go somewhere else. I don't believe you are forcing anyone to get one of your dogs. Some people would never be satisfied with any dog from any breeder and they get great enjoyment criticizing others. I wouldn't let this comment take one enjoyable minute from my day. If your dogs were not reputable, you would not have enjoyed the years you have breeding these Labradors. I hope you have a happy year ahead.
J. R. Broome

Betsy said...

After reading the blog posted on 1/4/10, I feel compelled to respond to this hurtful and absolutely untruthful email. Our precious black lab, Scout, died 5 1/2 years ago. He was from a very knowledgeable and caring breeder. To our heartbreak when we contacted her again inquiring about another lab, she was no longer breeding labs and led us to Betty Wenner. We called Betty and met with her at Surry to see the newborn pups. I was amazed at how Betty altered her life to care for the pups by sleeping for 6 weeks in the whelping room. She was most caring and concerned about her labs and producing the best labs possible. At the time, I didn't realize she was also interviewing us as dog owners to see if she wanted to place one of her pups with us. When we left Surry, we knew we wanted one of her dogs because of her breeding methods and great knowledge of the breed. I feel very fortunate that 5 years ago this week Betty called us to pick up a beautiful yellow female we named Maggie. She is a gentle, healthy, calm and lovable lab. Everyone who stops us wants to know where we got her because of her good temperament and beauty. Unfortunately, I have to tell them her breeder is no longer breeding these beautiful labs. I saw first hand how Betty cared and worried over Maggie's litter and upcoming litters. I got to meet Tilly and many of her other champion labs who were happy and well taken care of. I'm sad but understand her decision to stop breeding labs because of the toll it takes on a person who truly loves and cares for the breed. Betty, I'm so sorry you received this hurtful and ridiculous email. I feel so blessed to have Maggie in our lives and many thanks to you for choosing us!

Bob & Karoline Hall said...

Betty: With regard to the recent post about you/Surry, we wish to offer the following. It was not until after exhaustive research that we spent time in your home interviewing you while you spent time interviewing us. And it was not until after this thorough evaluation that we finally asked if we might be allowed to have one of your puppies become a member of our family. Thankfully you approved. We received our first puppy (Surry's Dancing Queen) in 2003 and another (Surry's Dram o' Fino Sherry) in 2006. Both our girls are extremely healthy and happy -- their antics make us smile and their affection warms our hearts. We are pleased that no matter where we/they go they are always welcome as they exhibit nice manners and play well with others. We had talked of getting another puppy from you so were obviously disappointed when we learned over a year ago that you were retiring from breeding. We hope you will recall all the wonderful dogs and people in your life because of your time as a breeder and your love of Labs.
Bob & Karoline
Mia & Gracie

Justin said...

Dr. Wenner,

As you recall, I was lucky to get Bess out of one of your last litters. I could not ask for a better dog. Her temperament is unmatched around all people, kids and adults alike. She is just over three years old now and she has proven to be loyal, gentle, sweet and extremely smart. I am certain that Bess would not have turned out the way she is had it not been for your careful breeding and early care techniques.

Your cowardly poster does not deserve a response from you. I hope that you won't give him/her another thought.

I hope all is well with you at Surry and I wish you the best.

Warmest regards,

Justin (and Bess)

Stephanie & John said...

We couldn't be happpier with our little guy, Cozmo (not so little anymore:).

Kristen Piersa said...

This is baffling!! I met you in person and I got this sense immediately that you were such a lovely, caring person who cared so much about your dogs. You always were knowledgeable on the most current canine health problems and advice and solutions. You always seemed to test them for everything and set things up where they were comfortable. I mean who has a MISTING SYSTEM in the kennels?! Whoever wrote that post is nuts to think that anyone could handle 15 dogs in a single house. Even 10. I had a hard time personally with 8 at one point. Plus litters?! But the way you set it up seems so lovely. Everyone has their own area, it's clean, it's warm and comfortable. I even remember years ago, you said that you let the older ones go in the house. So this is something you have done for years. Even through email, you were always there with support, encouragement and advice. I never regretted a single minute of getting Jammer from you. He was such a wonderful boy! And I'm eternally grateful you led me to Castlewood Labradors, Eve is still with me and I LOVE her to pieces. I do not believe a person that I have talked to over the years would treat her dogs as carelessly like the poster said. If that person had a problem, they should have spoken up through email, phone or in person. Also, why hide your own identity if you think you are right? Personally, I have had so many dogs over the years and I agree with you Betty. Each dog is a living breathing animal who is born different. Many labs can be GREAT dogs, while a few are a rebel to their own blood which is not in our control. It's not the breeder's fault if the dog's personality is different. Nobody can breed personalities. They only can breed general temperaments, not personalities, in dogs. Oh, also.. It's also the OWNER's responsibility to train the dog properly. The wrong owner can even make the best Lab into a unhappy, mad and aggressive dog. Whoever wrote that post does not know a single thing about you even though they seem to know a lot about you.