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Reprinted by permission of author David Fritsche and the GSD Review, the original publisher of these articles.

What's the Problem? by David Fritsche

This coming year I shall mark an anniversary: 55 years with the German shepherd dog. I cannot imagine life without my ever present dog and the love shared through the years. Yet, increasingly my image in the world is changing. I used to be the country boy with the ever present dog, but these days I think I am supposed to hide the fact that I breed dogs and that I keep multiple dogs at my house. Somehow, what started out to be a fun hobby and the fulfillment of a passion has become evil. I have dogs, I breed dogs and I sell dogs. I am, or so I am told, a major contributor to animal over-population and animal cruelty.

There is a gathering cloud in our land that is sweeping through city councils, county commissions and state legislatures. It is the assumption that someone has to put a stop to the evils of over-population and stop those evil sorts who breed and sell dogs. Certainly there is something demented in these people, we are told, who ignore the dogs already born and in need of homes to contribute to the problem by producing more.

Before I react too much, let me tell you about the ‘animal cruelty’ at our house. Each animal lover is different and has different facilities and needs, so I don’t propose that our situation is the standard that everyone should use. Far be it from me to follow the dictates of those who propose they know best for my hobby and dogs by telling others that I am the standard. But let me tell you none-the-less about our poor mistreated dogs.

All of our puppies go to a home that I have personally inspected to determine the general atmosphere and safety of the setting. More than once I have returned from my inspection trip and sent a kind “thank you for applying but no thank you!” note to the prospective owner. No, I am quite selective in placing our dogs. When we do, there is a written note telling them that, as the breeder, I am responsible for this animal for life. If for any reason, throughout its lifetime, they need to part with it, they must agree to return the dog to me.

Ariel was a fine puppy, not quite what we would show in the ring, but of great temperament and brains. A lady came by who was in the early stages of Multiple Sclerosis and her doctor had recommended that she get a dog for companionship and to walk daily. She loved Ariel and Ariel loved her, so she went off to be a companion/therapy dog. I checked on her periodically and at first everything was fine, then as the disease become worse so did the depression that tormented this lady. One day the owner of the apartment complex where the lady and Ariel lived called to say there was a problem. She found Ariel in her yard without food or water.

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Dare we Reshape Creation by Davd Fritsche

Come with me for as few minutes on a journey through the past to a dog show; let’s say some 500 years ago. We arrive in our motorhome, oops, covered wagon, still oops, - OK we walk to the site or ride the horse pulling our dog crates, securely fastened to the cart, and start setting up our canopy at ring side.

Yes, your right, AKC is not that old and dog shows as we know them are a rather recent invention in the history of human sporting events. Basketball predates us, going back at least to the Mayan culture, but their practice of cutting off the heads of the losers seemed to limit willing competition and may have ultimately eliminated the entire culture.
Yes, the dog show is rather recent to human history, although it certainly goes back longer than my personal history or my parents or grand parents. It is a time honored tradition of enjoyment of our dogs and friends and the dogs seem to equally enjoy it.

The breeding of pure bred dogs goes back in history further than our current system of dog shows however.  The ancient Pharaoh Hound and other ancient breeds trace their ancestry well before modern record keeping and breed registries. Dogs have existed probably for as long as we have been on the planet, or longer. What has changed is our relationship to them and our building of activities around them.
Somewhere along the line, people decided that dogs were useful in the hunting-gathering pursuits, so they bred dogs to accommodate that need. Rather ingenious, this leap of intellectual understanding, for it required astute observations about similarities in genetic off spring and the identification of desirable traits and the leap of logic to conclude that breeding certain dogs together would in fact have a beneficial outcome. Yes, this was a landmark understanding and launched human kind into a new world of control of our destiny and the shape of the dogs we partnered with.

Somewhere, way back in history we decided to act Godlike and make creative decisions. From that, we have taken a position in the natural world as being the point of control and being above the created creatures we breed. This simply act of breeding, establishes not only a practice and a sport, but a philosophical position that is not pleasing to everyone on our planet. We are not alone of course. Farmers, ranchers and animal husbandry in general follow the same basic philosophy. We have the right, even the responsibility to play God in our breeding practices and to produce the very best animals that we can. We are, in essence, taking a position that humanity, by virtue of understanding the genetic rewards of selective breeding, should take advantage of that knowledge to improve nature.

The pure bred dog is a result of this philosophy. It is more than a back yard hobby and its accompanying sport of dog trails, conformation shows, agility trials, obedience shows, herding events and the other related activities. It betrays a belief. It speaks of a world view of how we humans view ourselves and the animals we breed. And, it is in contrast to other philosophies that are outraged that we should think of ourselves in this godlike role. It is a contrast that has not been a problem for us for generations, but in the modern resurgence of our pantheistic critics, it is quite a problem now.

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Freedom & Control - The Continuum by David Fritsche

This is the third in a series of articles on the recent rash of animal legislation across the nation.

For over 20 years I taught one class a semester at the community college in the Criminal Justice Department. My service in police work and training seemed to give a great foundation for explaining to aspiring law enforcement officers, how it really is.

I started the first class of each semester with a statement that always brought a mixed reaction. I would shout, “Crime is a solvable problem!” Inevitably a student or two would disagree so strongly as to speak up and the argument was on. My follow-up questions was:  Is there any nation or society in the world today or at any time in history that had a lower crime rate than we do in our nation today?

After a thoughtful pause, there would always be an affirmative answer – of course there is and was. So the question that followed was, “How did they achieve their lesser crime rate?” And the answer was always the same: By increasing enforcement, making stricter laws and increasing the police force – the means of control.

Some years ago my wife went to China on a shopping junket with a group of ladies. They went to Hong Kong, China, Japan and Korea, starting with only a small cosmetic bag and coming home with… Well, you can only guess what they brought home. But the most remarkable part of the trip was not in the bargains they found but in the shock at seeing how other cultures lived. They remarked about the claims of China that they had very little crime, but it was obvious why. There were police and soldiers on every street corner with automatic weapons, and others patrolling the blocks in between. Of course they had little crime because they had high control.

There are still some cultures that cut off the hand of the thief, stone the adulterer, shoot those who disagree with the government and in general create terror within their borders. We, I’ve always argued, can do the same and stop or drastically reduce our crime rate and greatly reduce our prison population. But when I would propose that solution to my class, they would always react with rejection of the idea. They have learned to enjoy their freedom and to reject strong control.

The point of this class and of this article is to underscore the continuum that exists between freedom and control. They are equal opposites on the same continuum and are interactive on that line of interaction. The more control, the less freedom. The more freedom we enjoy, the less control there has to be. That being so, then we choose our crime rate and we choose our level of freedom. We decide whether to stop misbehavior which inevitably limits our freedom to act by our own conscience and volition. You can’t have it both ways. As we move along that line of action and reaction, increasing control or freedom will have an effect on the other.

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The War is Here by David Fritsche

No need to wait, there is a war available near you now.

I remember getting up one morning, some years ago and turning on the news, which is always my morning ritual. I seldom listen to it, just glance at the weather, and grab a shower and some toast and head out the door. But on this day they kept showing an airplane flying into a building, so I stopped to watch. Then in the middle of the broadcast another plane flew into the adjoining tower. It took me some time to assimilate what was happening as it did the new media I was watching. I remember that day and it will be emblazoned on my aging mind as long as I live.

Well, it is happening again. No not airplanes and towers and such national issues, in that sense there is no parallel, but the shock and emotion is there none-the-less. All this week I have been preparing position papers and driving to the halls of local and state government to testify on some of the most gosh-awful legislation I have ever seen. It is an all out war.

I was told by another dog person working with our team that 147 pieces of legislation are pending right now in 37 states across the nation. Although each have different wording depending on which politician wrote and presented them, they all have the same emphasis behind them and the signature objectives of HSUS, the Humane Society of the United States.

Can you believe that this nation-wide campaign happened without their announcing it to us? I mean, there should be some ethical agreement in warfare that if you are going to go to war you should declare war before hand to give us a chance to prepare! Right? Well, they did their job well and their preemptive strike has been devastating. This has to go down as the Pearl Harbor of Dogdom.

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The Law of Progressive Density by David Fritsche

Warning: This article is serious and contains no humor! That’s because I’ve had it with the do-gooders of the animal rights movement and the legislators that they own!

The value of the diamond is not in that it is made of carbon but that it has been crystallized into a density many times greater than its original component material. Time and pressure tends to create density. This is not just true in the formation of gemstones, but it is also true in social structures. The longer a group exists, the greater its social structures.

We see this law in motion in our government and, in my opinion; it has almost reached critical mass. Here is how it happens. The founders of this nation came here for several reasons. They came for religious freedom, for the opportunity to get away from the confines of an old and tight country and for the adventure that this new land afforded them. They started with nothing more than the common law which was loosely based on broader ethical foundations, but which they interpreted anew in this grand new social experiment. The leaders of the day were employed in a variety of commercial ventures and volunteered their time to serve as the nation needed their attendance.

But we grew, and we changed and the law of progressive density took over without our ever knowing it. There were problems in our land that the Ten Commandments did not specifically address, so our leaders got together and made new laws, one here, one there and then some more. In the making of laws there was no end and so we decided to pay or leaders to be there full time. And what do you think they thought they were supposed to do? Make more laws, develop more programs and solve more problems. They, without understanding the dynamic that they were sucked into, participated in the law of progressive density.
Time went on and with its passing, there were more laws and more regulations that were not laws passed by our legislators, but since the law of progressive density is as it is, there was no time to make enough laws to cover the growing governmental bureaus that developed, so the leaders allowed them to make their own regulations and then the penalties for not obeying them. Before long, those regulations for each governmental agency were so vast and powerful that they were greater in volume than the laws passed by congress. Now, years later, the compounding of this subtle process gives us Federal Law, State Law, County Ordinances, City Ordinances, plus the regulations of HUD, IRS, CDC, DOA, USFS, DOE, USDA, and an endless list of acronyms no sane person knows or understands. Each has enough volumes of regulations and policies to keep the world warm through 100 future ice ages should we burn them for heat – which may not be a bad idea anyway

The end result of this phenomenon of progressive legal density is that it is virtually impossible to step outside ones door in the morning without breaking some law or failing to comply with some bureaucratic regulation. It is overpowering in the sheer weight of the density we have created, and yet, unlike the diamond, it does not increase the value one bit. One of the powerful things that happens in this increase of regulation is that the objective becomes smaller and more minute as time goes on. That is, we started with “Thou shalt not murder,” an now we are down to, even if you planted the tree ten years ago, you have to have a permit and environmental clearance before you cut it down to do something on your own property. Really! I kid you not! Some communities tell you what color to paint your house, and where to park your car.

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It Used to Be by David Fritsche

It used to be that people lived on farms and grew their own food and traded with their neighbors and, well, - things were different then.

Johnny used to go with dad into the fields to work at daybreak, learn the rigors of agricultural life and prepare to do it himself on his own land when he was old enough to marry. And, inevitably Johnny grew up, mentored by dad and did get married and was given the south 640 acres of the family farm for himself, with the understanding that in a few years, when mom and dad grew too old, he would be taking care of them.

Mary, similarly was mentored by mom in the finer points of tending to the domestic chores of the farm, which revolved around the animals, the food supply and the feeding of the men who tended the greater boundaries of the farm.

It was not but 60 years ago or so that the vast majority of our population lived on the farm while a small minority lived in the cities. Today, it is more than reversed in proportions; very few people live rurally and raise their own food. Yet, with far fewer people tending the farm, today’s agricultural yield by far exceeds the total crop production in total and in yield per acre.

What used to be simply is not here anymore…

Did you ever attend a PTA meeting with your children? You know, where the President of the PTA introduces the Principal of the school who tells us, “Here at Elm Crest Elementary School, we like to think of each of our students as a little flower; each blooming in their own time and in their own way. Our educational program is designed to give the best in individualized instruction, keeping the ratio of student to teacher low so that our individualized focus is consistently maintained.” - and so on! So today, Johnny has the opportunity to graduate from high school, having accumulated 12 years of individuality focused education, and when he graduates, he is asked, “Johnny, what are you going to be?” To which Johnny with invariably reply, “I dunno!”

Then off to college and a liberal arts education majoring in political science or basketball, and another graduation in which Johnny is again asked, “Now Johnny, what are you going to do with your individualized education and major focused research?” To which Johnny will probably still answer, “I dunno!”

You see, the Johnny of the past did not have individualized education in an adaptive focused curriculum of multiple-choice. The Johnny of the agricultural era in reality had no choice. He was going to grow food so he could eat and feed his family. He was going to rise early and work hard and if he did not, he was not going to eat. The setting was one of occupation, land management and animal husbandry as the focus of life and the animals and the land were utilitarian instruments of survival. We were closer to the land and to the animals, yet our relationship were far more utilitarian than they are today.

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