A Scottie is not only for Lockdown

It seems such an obvious statement, upgraded from the infamous "A dog is not only for Christmas" campaign.

But it seems that some people are not getting the message. In the past few months, London Scottie Club has been receiving a lot more enquiries on the lines of this one:

Hi ,
>> 
>> We are looking to get a Scottie puppy.
>> But am very aware of puppy farms, especially at this time.
>> 
>> Do you know any reputable breeders. 
>> 
>> many thanks

And that's one of the more tame ones. We also get some very desperate calls for a puppy and the writers are not worried from where the puppy would come.

Lockdown certainly means that more of us are teleworking or simply forced to stay in.

Scotties are among the breeds making a comeback, despite nonsensical predictions in 2019 that the breed was heading towards extinction after landing rather awkwardly and unconvincingly on the Kennel Club of Great Britain's At-Risk list.

We know that Christmas advertising campaigns are further fuelling the festive interest in our treasured dog breed. This year more than many we see Scotties decorating various retailers' offers as they clamour for our cash ahead of Brexit uncertainty and Covid-19 curbs.

Nothing brightens up a day like a Scottie, as my own coffee mug extols. But we also need a reality check.

Need a vaccine for your crush?

A lot of people want a puppy but are not thinking ahead to the day a Covid-19 vaccine is ready - in 2021 - and the back to work demands. Although some employers may allow staff to stay home indefinitely, the vast majority will want them back at the workplace.

They also don't take on board that Scotties are not like many other dog breeds and have certain requirements. Just because they are small enough to fit into an apartment doesn't mean that's the most suited environment for them.

They can be fussy around small children and are not a docile breed.

Don't add to the Re-homing statistics

So what we don't want to see is lots of Scotties up for re-homing in 2021 once new owners realise it only seemed a good idea at the time.

Don't get us wrong. We are delighted the Scottie is enjoying something of a renaissance. But we also care that they go to good homes who can look after the dog for many years to come.

Puppy farms, and even some breeders, have chalked up the price of Scotties as demand outstrips supply. We have heard that a black Scottie puppy, which just two years ago "retailed" at £700-900 are now fetching £3,500 - if you can even get one.

We don't think that kind of mark-up is fair or reasonable and shame on those who think they can mint it. The owner could buy a lot of needed dog food for that price. Even if demand outstrips supply, the better breeders are unwittingly encouraging the unhealthy and unethical puppy farms to multiply and cash in.

As soon as puppy farms see the price goes up, they are in there over-breeding dogs. The consequences include unhealthy dogs that may develop problems and have a short, painful life - no matter how well their owner cares for them. It's a very sad outcome.

Eventually, those higher prices dip as a supply of unhealthy Scotties saturates demand. So was it all worth it?

Have you considered adopting?

London Scottie Club is proud to work with STECS, the Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme, a charity which recently celebrated 40 years.

STECS is more than a great charity. When you take one of the 50 Scotties who need re-homing each year - occasionally even puppies - you get a dog the charity has made efforts to check over properly.

Rescue dogs don't always come with a lot of back history documented. But STECS will monitor the behaviour of dogs they take into their care and later re-home.

What is more, and perhaps the most important part of signing up on STECS waiting list, is that the charity not only sources the dog. It also sources and assess the potential new owner.

STECS is a nationwide charity and its volunteers inspect your homes to ensure that you have a suitable environment for a Scottie. They will discuss your needs and your resources. They will also check that the house is safe for a Scottie. Are there an holes the dog can run away through? Is there a major busy road nearby? Will there be anyone home when lockdown ends?

Might all seem obvious. But when prospective owners think about a dog, they might only be thinking about the current conditions, or encouraged by a daughter who wants one.

We know that most of you reading this article are kind and good folk. We know you want a dog and want to nurture and love it always. But owning a dog is expensive - you have to microchip it, insure it, maintain annual and monthly medications, set cash aside for unexpected operations, and of course feed it!

Owning a dog is a life-long rewarding experience in return for the effort you are willing to make.

But please consider all the options. And if you still want a Scottie, give STECS a look-in. They will always be happy to help.

London Scottie Club, meanwhile, will respond to further correspondence like the one we shared at the beginning of this article, with a link to this article.

We always try to respond to letters and appreciate people writing in. But we are not going to recommend one breeder over another. We are not an advisory centre for those who are looking for a Scottie. We are a club for members who have a Scottie and know what's involved.

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