Media – Show Dogs Only, Thank You

Third in a series
We Accept Rejects

I didn’t know it at the time but for a Boxer to compete in the conformation ring, at least 2/3 of its coloring must be brindle or fawn. As I carefully delivered our anesthetized patient, Lila’s groggy puppies by Caesarian, infant number 3 landed in the hands of our veterinary nurse Bobbi.

Our client, Gretchen Adler, was busy reviving the pupster I had handed her a few minutes earlier. As Bobbi pulled the placenta off the youngster in her hands we heard a clear order, “Let the white ones die.” Had I heard that right? So, I replied, “Excuse me?” And Ms. Adler retorted, “White Boxers are not allowed in the show ring. My dogs always produce a few. We put them down.” Clearly, that the matter was not open to debate.

Failing to revive healthy creatures just wasn’t part of our practice culture. I knew Bobbi and my partner Dr. Virginia Vader well. We immediately exchanged subtle facial expressions, sharing our collective decision. Bobbi gently put her white puppy in the waste basket.

I quickly fished out the next baby, luckily a fawn and white, and handed it to Bobbi. She examined it quickly, and stated with remarkable aplomb, “Dr. Nichol, I’m taking this one to treatment for supplemental oxygen.” I was quickly ready with another, a brindle and white, which I handed to Ms. Adler. With our client now preoccupied with two wet wrigglers, Bobbi swept out of the room. Her sleight of hand with the waste basket was worthy of an Oscar.

Of the 9 puppies, three were white. I passed each of these “rejects” to my people, who repeated the ruse as though we had rehearsed it. As I tied the last suture Dr. Vader switched off the gas anesthetic, allowing Lila to breathe pure oxygen until she was coherent enough to join her brood of 6. I chatted about puppy raising with our client while Bobbi and Virginia busily cared for the 3 trash can kids elsewhere in the clinic.

Next week: Ethics under duress? Did the breeder know?
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Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Post pet behavioral or physical questions on or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.