Hillmeadow Visitation Policy
We absolutely love to 'talk dogs' and share our beautiful Cobberdogs, but unfortunately the reality of having constant visitors to our home isn't practical or wise. We have outlined our concerns with visiting below:
1. Bio-security Risk
The bio-security of our home environment is our utmost priority. Lauren is a clean-freak (her nursing background certainly drilled in those infection control principles!) and we do our best to keep our dogs' environment as clean as possible. Diseases and viruses, like Parvovirus, can be tracked by paws, shoes, and even car tires. This is a significant risk from individuals and families that have been visiting other breeders, shelters, or rescue organizations. Once these diseases or viruses are in our environment they can be fatal to our wee puppies who have immature immune systems, and can also prevent us from raising puppies for years to come. We are the care-takers and not the owners of our puppies. We take our responsibility to safeguard these little lives very seriously, and we know you would appeciate how seriously we take our responsibility if it is your family eagerly waiting to bring home a puppy.
Our dogs normally love people of all shapes and sizes; however, when they are in the end stages of pregnancy or raising puppies a momma dog needs her peace, privacy, and routine. A social new momma could ignore her puppies to hang out with visitors- this results in puppies not being fed, cleaned, or kept warm. We could also have a new momma become overprotective with the threat of strangers wanting to handle her puppies. A stressed and protective momma can easily step on and/or injure one of her puppies. Not only this, but a stressed momma is overproducing the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol then enters the milk supply and the puppies can become stressed. We also regularly have dogs in heat and preparing to be bred. We want these dogs to be relaxed in order to increase our chances of a succesful mating and conception.
The dogs that live or stay with us are all intact and influenced by fluctuating hormones. These hormones do affect their temperament and may give you an inaccurate idea what a pet quality Cobberdog is like.
If we regularly hosted visitors we would be spending all of our time cleaning, preparing, and welcoming visitors. This significantly takes away from our time spent caring for our dogs and socializing our puppies. We are very busy balancing our commitments to our work, farm, dogs, family, friends, church, and marriage. Our responsibilities to our dogs and our farm are varied and unpredictable, it's hard to be able to designate set times to host visitors.
The amount of interest in our puppies outweighs the amount of puppies that we raise. Many families are looking for a puppy right away, while most of our families can expect to wait almost a year before bringing home a puppy. It unfortunately doesn't make practical sense to host families that may not be bringing a puppy home from our programme.
6. Guardian Homes
We are a home based breeder. We only have 2-3 Cobberdogs that live permanently in our home, the rest of our dogs live in guardian homes. A guardian home is the dog's permanent home and family, they only come back to us for breeding or raising puppies. We respect and value our guardian homes and it isn't practical to have the dogs travel back and forth to our home to meet with interested families. Guardian families have busy lives too and it would be difficult to align their schedule with ours and the interested visitors.
Visitors are essentially strangers. Our home is isolated in a rural environment. Lauren is a young woman and might have to host visitors on her own depending on the farm's needs. It isn't wise for a young woman to entertain strangers alone in her home. There are also unfortunately many case of breeders welcoming visitors in their home only to have the visitors return and steal the puppies at a later date. We have to keep our home, puppies, dogs, and family safe.
Instead of hosting visits with each family, we host 'Romps'. A Romp is an event held at a local dog park. These events are open to past puppies and their families as well as interested families. We are on hand with our own dogs, and guardian families and dogs will sometimes attend as well. This is the absolute best way to meet a lot of Cobberdogs in a short amount of time and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of whether this is the right breed for you. Romps are held on a Sunday afternoon, and we aim to host a Romp every Spring and Fall. Dates for Romps will be posted on our Facebook page as an 'event' and we will also provide details on our website. Dates vary depending on our schedule on the farm and with our dogs. We do our best to only host Romps when we have vaccinated puppies or have a break from having puppies in our home. In the interest of biosecurity our car, shoes, and dogs are all washed after the Romp and before going home.
If you are interested in knowing what our home is like, we have posted a tour of our home on our website. Following our Facebook page at 'Hillmeadow Cobberdogs' is an excellent way to discover what daily life is like for our dogs.
We do try to host an 'open house' for our reservation list families once puppies are vaccinated (between week 6-7). This depends on our availability and may only take place if we have no other unvaccinated puppies or mommas due to whelp in our home.