Sunday, August 23, 2009

HIstory of the Australian Labradoodle

This is from the Australian Labradoodle Association of America

My Story: I Designed a Dog, by Wally Conron
Printed 7/10/2007 by

Determined to source the most suitable guide-dog for a client, I unwittingly turned the canine world upside down While working with the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia as its puppy-breeding manager in the early ’80s, I received a request from Hawaii. A vision-impaired woman there, whose husband was allergic to dog hair, had written to our centre in the hope that we might have an allergy-free guide-dog. “Piece of cake,” I thought. The standard poodle, a trainable working dog, was probably the most suitable breed, with its tightly curled coat. Although our centre bred and used labradors, I didn’t anticipate any difficulties finding a suitable poodle. It turned out I was wrong: after rejecting countless poodles with various problems, some two years and 33 disappointing trials later, I still hadn’t found an appropriate dog for the job. In desperation, I decided to cross a standard poodle with one of our best-producing labradors. The mating was successful, but it produced only three pups. We sent coat and saliva samples of each pup to the Hawaiian couple, and the husband found one sample allergy-free. At last we were getting somewhere, but a big job lay ahead. The pup had to grow up and prove suitable for guiding work; and then it had to be compatible with the visually impaired client. We had a long way to go. With a three to six-month waiting list for people wishing to foster our pups, I was sure we’d have no problem placing our three new crossbred pups with a family. But again I was wrong: it seemed no-one wanted a crossbred puppy; everyone on the waiting list preferred to wait for a purebred. And time was running out – the pups needed to be placed in homes and socialised; otherwise they would not become guide-dogs. By eight weeks of age, the puppies still hadn’t found homes. Frustrated and annoyed with the response to the trio of crossbreeds I had carefully reared, I decided to stop mentioning the word crossbreed and introduced the term labradoodle instead to describe my new allergy-free guide-dog pups. It worked – during the weeks that followed, our switchboard was inundated with calls from other guide-dog centres, vision-impaired people and people allergic to dog hair who wanted to know more about this “wonder dog”. My three pups may have been mongrels at heart – but the furore did not abate. It was 1989 and the publicity surrounding the new designer dogs went national and then international. A new world opened for countless people who had once thought they could never enjoy the delight of a pet pooch. With this kind of response, I knew we were on to a winner, and I took the decision to breed more of the labrador-poodle crosses. So I contacted the then Kennel Control Councilof Australia, hoping to find the names of reputable breeders who were breeding standard problem-free poodles. “If you use any registered dog for your programme, that breeder will be struck off the register and never be allowed to show or register their dogs again,” the council’s spokesperson warned. Nor did he budge when I explained that the dogs were being bred to help vision-impaired people. The breeders themselves were split: many did subsequentely threaten me or propose litigation if I used their progeny in my breeding programme, while others offered their services free to the guide-dog centre. While all this was happening, I continued training Sultan, the original non-allergenic pup. He eventually went to Hawaii, amid intense media coverage, where as the world’s first labradoodle he bonded beautifully with his new owner and her allergic husband. Interest in the labradoodle continued to escalate and inquiries poured in from all over the world from people wishing to either purchase or breed the dogs. But I quickly realised that I’d opened a Pandora’s box when our next litter of ten labradoodles produced only three allergy-free pups. I began to worry, too, about backyard breeders producing supposedly “allergy-free” dogs for profit. Already, one man claimed to be the first to breed a poodle- Rottweiler cross! Nothing, however, could stop the mania that followed. New breeds began to flood the market: groodles, spoodles, caboodles and snoodles. Were breeders bothering to check their sires and bitches for heredity faults, or were they simply caught up in delivering to hungry customers the next status symbol? We’ll never know for sure. Today I am internationally credited as the first person to breed the labradoodle, but I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog – or a disaster!

Come to Mama

Yesterday I sent the check for the puppy. The big girl should be here in a week or so. She'll be flying from WA. I asked friends and client families to vote on the name. Of course Pops wants to name her "Gunner". He is coping fairly well with the idea of a dog with curls residing here. Poor Java has been enjoying being the Princess-she will likely be shocked to have to share her family. But I think she will enjoy having a playmate.

I'm very excited about doing more research on animal assisted therapy, training the dog and getting her up and going. So far I have found just a few articles on speech therapists using dogs for therapy. This is a new area.

More as I come across it.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Or where have I been and what have I been doing.
My dear friend TB, who was in the hospital in Miami, has made a miraculous recovery after a bleed in the brain, a stroke, hydrocephalus and bacterial meningitis. She was in the ICU for over a month. She had the bleed on July 3 and left the hospital August the 19th-for a stay of 54 days. She was released from rehab and we flew together to LA. She is at her friends home, where she will be staying for now to recover. She was at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the Ryder Trauma Center which is an AMAZING rehabilitation center. I loved being back on rehab and being able to interact with the professionals. My OT friends would have been proud of the 2 on-airline toilet transfers Tanya and I carried off without a hitch.

I am pleased she is well and I am relieved this chapter is ending. She was very ill with a rocky course. Getting daily reports from the RN, let alone any regular report from an MD, was difficult with the time change, lack of availability etc. I'd do it all again. I have reconnected with TB and my friend A, made a new friend or 2 and had some new experiences with going to Miami twice.

One thing that I have learned is that it is time for me to focus more on myself and my family. It is so easy for me to give my time to others and other endeavors. I enjoy doing that, and I can than avoid doing the things in my own life that I don't like or want to avoid. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work out so well for me and my family.

It is now 2 weeks before school starts. My goals:
get my puppy here
sign up for training
schedule follow up with my MD
Ki eye exam
Ki MD apt
Ki and Aj dentist for cleaning
Aj dental xrays
me to dentist
look into place for my Mom
clean up house
move forward on website
call pediatrician practices to set up inservices/marketing
choose paint and begin painting in house
call landlord re: ceiling of office
complete billing
rent extra office?
tile office floor
get more office furniture
spend time with kids

I won't get all this done-but it is the same list that has been hanging for months. So if I can take a big chunk out-I am doing well
wish me luck!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Doodley Do at 12 weeks

I am hoping to get her! She is 12 weeks now. She is in Gig Harbor, WA. Near Seattle. She will be about 45 pounds when full grown. She has had some training and lots of socialization with various people. She has already gone on a pet therapy visit to a nursing home with her siblings!
I think I may have a name-but would love ideas.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Doodle Do

Check out this cutie! 9 weeks in picture. She is currently 12 weeks. mmmmm we'll see

Monday, August 03, 2009

Carwash for St. Jude's Hospital

My kids are at Camp Kaboom through park and rec in RWC. This Th from 10 to 3 they are holding a carwash to raise money for St. Jude's Resaerch hosptial. St Jude's provides care for children with cancer, regardless of the families' ability to pay.
So-stop on by the parking lot at Red Morton and get that car cleaned for $5.00!

Doggie update

I sent application to assistance dog place in Santa Rosa and have not heard back. I completed a written application, a letter, and needed 2 letters of rec (not from family). Thank you Squid and Sandrini. I called at one point and they said wait could be up to a year or more. AAAHHHH!
I then found this fabulous fellow and his site. He is in Indiana. He rescues dogs and then trains them as therapy dogs. He works to have them pass the AKC good dog test and the Delta Pet partners test. He is incredibly active in his community.Sounds like a good soul.
Check out his site at:

We have emailed a few times and I hope to speak to him on the phone this week. Check out dogs Dobky and Huntley. Cuties. He is not ready to part with Dobky. I don't blame him he sounds like a great dog.