Blog: Tattoo Taboo

    Before the acceptance of micro-chipping as a way of identifying our dogs, the general rule was to tattoo the ears, lips, or  thighs of the puppy so it would have a permanent means of ID.

    I’m sure some of us remember those days.

    Well it did not bother me much when our first litter that required tattooing arrived. The thought was, everyone did it, it was required to register the litter, at which we had spent a handsome sum to get in the first place, so my sister and I did not put much thought into it. At least until the time came to the doing of it when the puppies were seven weeks old.

    We had made all the inquiries as to the how and why, had the correct numbers written down, all our paperwork in order from the registering club and the ink and of course, the tattoo clamp.

    “Just put the ear in the clamp after you’ve really inked up the skin and press in it until it clicks.”

    That’s where we ran into problems.

    I had this beautiful puppy in my hands, Ammulett, someone I had truly waited for my whole life, given to me by her beautiful mom Eclipse and now, apparently, I was going CRUSH HER EAR IN A VICE until it clicked. And then the other one.

     I looked at my sister with the clamp in her hand who is looking at me as Ammulett plants kisses all over my face, oblivious to fact that I am about to betray her trust. I’m stroking that tiny little ear that is so tender and soft and smells like a piece of heaven and I’m thinking about how did I get here, hurting a baby... Now, my sister turns pale at the thought of any kind of blood- letting so she was weaving a little as she surrenders the tattoo clamp.

    “You do it. I’ll hold puppy.”

    “ I’m not going to do it! You said you would.” I clearly remembered her agreeing to it.

    “Changed my mind.”

    “We have to do it. We won’t be able to register them…” My mind fast forwards to how the club, which I just joined a year ago, is going to expel me for improper procedure, not to mention how I did not follow the by- laws and guidelines set forth herein, yadda- yadda, and was now producing a litter not recognized by anyone…The AKC would not be recognizing our breed for years, the Breed club was the only place to register the pups. The kennel name was doomed before it bloomed. All this transpires in the blink of an eye, but I already knew the answer.

    “Well, I guess that is that then.” As I put Ammulett on the floor so she could go to her mom.

    “Looks like.”

    We did not give up on the idea of registering our first litter of this breed though and talked with our vet who told us about a new thing, micro-chipping, and it sounded a whole lot better than a clamp.

    There was a bit of discussion with the club though, we would not be able to register the puppies, but we decided we could live with that. So we micro-chipped. And in the end they did recognize micro-chipping, but we did not know that at the time.

    I guess this blog is in response to a question I was asked by a reader on what my thoughts were on docking and cropping.

    If I can’t put an ear in a clamp to register the puppy, I sure as heck can’t cut it off for esthetics.


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