Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

An insult to my work , my heart and my animals

Rather than saying 'adopt don't shop" I prefer to say, 'Help a creature or human in need". I think it is great to adopt animals out of shelters or rescues-I think my track record shows that. But I am not someone who will judge another human being for finding a good breeder to buy the dog of their choosing-for whatever reasons. A few weeks ago someone unsubsribed from my newsletter and cancelled her monthly $20 donation she had paid since last year, writing a note to tell me she would not be supporting our organization further because I am buying a dog from a breeder. She went on to say, quote, "There are many purebred Labrador puppies in rescue/shelter situations that need you. Breeders are useless and greedy." I thanked her for her past support, and also thanked her for taking her energy elsewhere. I wonder if this person and others like her decline going to baby showers if the person didn't adopt, but insted bred their child.

I have had wonderful creatures in my life, some from shelters, rescues and many from breeders. While I would never support a puppy mill or large scale breeder, I value the breeders I've known in my life, since childhood we have always had dogs, both purebred, some mutts. To me they are creatures. I never point out, "Oh this is my rescue dog. Or this is my rescue horse." If that is how you want to introduce your animal, fine, but I don't see the need-they are creatures.

When I got this note, my first reaction was...surprise. First of all, it is not based on facts. To lump all breeders as 'evil' well, I state that is unfair , ignorant and untrue. I can tell you after 15+ years of taking in neglected and needy animals, that the humans on the other end come in all shapes and sizes. And I can also tell you that I have come into contact with good breeders and some not so good...BUT I have come into contact with many judgemental people in the 'rescue' world. There are people doing good work for animals in all sectors.

My reaction was also to want to explain to this person why I thought she was misguided about breeders. It happened four weeks ago. But I chose to walk away. Then I found myself second guessing about posting pictures of Bear, our new pup that will be here in four weeks. I continued to post pictures though, and I will continue to do that. I am not going to hide behind fear of the social Puppy Police-those people out there that spread their judgements as they sit in front of a screen. And if any of you out there feel the need to go, by all means do.

I should say, when you are giving money, no matter how small or big the amount, you have the right to change your mind if that organization doesn’t lie up to what you thought it should. Our mission here is clear-to help elder/needy animals and to share them with elder people. I can assure everyone that the elder people who lay their hands on my animals aren’t wondering if I adopted them or bought them from a breeder. Bear the pup is a dog I am purchasing, from my funds, not the non profits, but he will be part of our therapy work.

Ironically, I saw her note on the day I buried Papi, one of umpteen elder cats that have been brought out of shelters. I wondered how many graves this woman has dug in her life. Is the grave I dug two years ago for Huck, our beloved lab, any less graced and blessed by Earth because he was from a breeder? Of course not.

What an insult to my work, my heart, and all my animals.


Patty said...

Apifera daily gives me hope for a kinder world despite evidence to the contrary. People always enjoy judging others. Cheap shot.

Your adoption analogy is spot on. Please know how many of us
depend on your inspiration. Carry on, so many of us love what you do.

Susan C Hammond said...

Thank you for your unwavering care of all animals. You inspire & the animals entertain us daily. Some people are just small minded.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

thanks for sharing your stories. I can't wait to get him hom and work with him! We had a respectful and lively discussion on FB and no matter what, this dog is meant to be here, just as WHite Dog [a purebred I might add] found us, and MArcella [also a purebred Maremma bred by a 'breeder' who also raised sheep and understood the unique skills needed to rear a Maremma]was meant to be here. Just as every Misfit found a way here. Just as my two chocolates also from one of those evil breeders were highlights of my life and continue to be. The world is so full of tribal warfare and now some are tribal about buying a puppy....not on my cloud!

Kathryn said...

Your response is spot on - I have a rescue dog and one from a breeder - there are lots of valid reasons for having both - your mission, work and heart are clear to most of us - march on....

C.M. Mayo said...

Dear Katherine, I am one of your many and long-time fans and I am sorry to read of your visit from the Self-Appointed Puppy Police. I can imagine that that must have been an unpleasant email to read. I think all what you do is wonderful and of course, some breeders do wonderful work, and thank goodness for them. When it comes to animals and food (and plenty of other subjects as well) a lot of people just get themselves wrapped around the axle, I guess. I think this sort of thing says far more about that person than it does about anything you do. I for one look forward to reading more about your chocolate pup!

You demonstrate many things in your blog, but two that I find especially inspiring are that (1) you consistently do the work to make your art (writing, painting, and more) and (2) you consistently show the courage to step into the public eye with your art-- and also your rescue work with elders and the pet therapy.

And it does take courage, precisely because there are unhappy people out there who, when least expected, and however unfairly and cruelly, will attack. (But then they have to live with themselves, the artist doesn't.)

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thank you Kathryn for the perspective. ANd Madame, we pug owners know that the orgin of a dog is not the point, it's the bond and love we give and they return. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I actually got a note from you awhile back in the mail, and tried to email but my email came back-but the way you typed the envelope and note, it was so vintage looking and I felt like I was getting a note from E.B.White! You know, I sometimes forget how much I put out there. I have been called 'weird' since I was little. I don't think anyone here thinks that, but sharing day in and day out, you forget you are not only sharing story, but you are a target for many without any imaginations and a dullness in their lives.

C.M. Mayo said...


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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~