Elsewhere in this issue, Tina Dennis has written an excellent article which tells what to expect when looking for a Norfolk puppy. It's worth copying and sending to potential buyers so that they know what may be ahead of them as they search. However, to take this further . . .
Remember, you were once a novice, too. There was a time not so long ago when most current Norfolk owners didn't know a Norfolk from a Cairn from a Ponderosa pine. Or, if they could recognize one by sight, they'd never actually owned or bred one. (How many of you out there have been "in the breed" long enough to have owned a registered "Drop Ear Norwich Terrier", eh?)
People . . . even novice puppy buyers . . . have the right to be treated with kindness and understanding. If you are a breeder and you are too busy to chat with a caller, ask that they call you back at a time that is more convenient for you. Or, if you have nothing to say, refer them to someone else.
If you're selling a dog to a newcomer, or advising a beginning breeder how to go about doing things, be honest and up front. Consider the fairness of waiting lists and non-refundable deposits, especially if you don't even have pups on the ground. If you breed only occasionally, as most of us do, is it fair to limit a buyer's options when you know it may be months or even years before you actually have a puppy available?
If you intend to sell a puppy on a limited registration, which is a perfectly admirable thing to do, say so before the buyers fall in love so they don't spend weeks dreaming of glory in the show ring, only to have you surprise them with unexpected restrictions at the last minute when they show up to bring their baby home. If a person is looking for a show dog, be totally fair in evaluating your current litter. Don't hesitate to send a buyer elsewhere if you know in your heart that the bunch of darlings romping in your kitchen will never make it to the head of the line in the conformation ring. If you intend to place a breeding contract on a bitch, be fair and don't expect to have pick puppy in perpetuity. If a caller asks a "stupid" question, think of the dumb things we all have done as we've become immersed in the world of dogs.
Think about the people you met when you were getting your first puppy, when you entered your first show, or when you were anxiously awaiting the birth of your first litter. Remember the ones who wouldn't give you the time of day? Who acted superior in every way? Who challenged your right to even have a Norfolk?
Now, remember those who were generous in their praise and gentle in their criticism? Who patiently answered your every question? Who helped you fill out your first entry form? Who explained why your bitch was frantically trying to nest in the sofa during her first false pregnancy?
Give it some thought the next time you're talking to a new or potential Norfolk owner. How will you be remembered?
ANTIC, June 1997
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