What is Pine Hill's visitor's policy?

This section of the web site is long overdue.  It never fails, pleasant day for a drive and the phone rings
with families wanting to stop by, drop in, maybe see if a German Shepherd is the right dog for them,
they just happen to be in the "neighborhood", or they are considering a puppy and have heard they
should go and "visit breeders".  

No. Actually, it's tempting to blurt out "Oh, hell no!", especially when they are dropping in on
other dog owners (more on that below!).

Pine Hill is dedicated to keeping healthy dogs and when there is a litter, to raising the healthiest
puppies possible. For this reason, I have necessary policies in place for visitors and
want-to-be visitors.

I will only extend visitation privileges to families who have placed a deposit and are picking
up their puppy in person. Here's why; Parvo is an opportunistic and fatal disease that can infect a
puppy in a matter of 24 hrs. It is shed by infected dogs and can live for months on hard surfaces and
grass. It is not a disease that affects humans, therefore it would be difficult to know whether a member
of one of our visiting families was a carrier from visiting kennels, dog parks etc.

Two strains of the canine flu are epidemic.  Most of our dogs in the US have not been exposed and
therefore have no immunity. It is fatal in very young dogs (puppies) or older veterans with a
compromised immune system.  The flu vaccines are somewhat effective, but not 100% and have, to
date, not been tested to be safe on gals to be bred. The high fever that accompanies the flu can/will
cause a bitch who is bred to lose her litter or result in puppies born with birth defects.

These are simply risks I will not take with my dogs, puppies or with your puppy-to-be and
for these reasons I will no longer allow any visitors who do not have a vested interest in a litter.
Thank you for your understanding.

I do understand people who have not lived with a German Shepherd Dog wanting to meet one in
person. Please call to see if I will be attending a dog show locally or visit the AKC's site for up to date
event listings to view the breed and speak with breeders and owners.

I also understand puppy buyers are sometimes advised to meet a puppy's parents. It would be unusual
to meet both parents. Yes, you will meet the mother eventually, but the best male for her may be many
states away or even deceased. Serious breeders, when planning for the very best combinations have
the option to use chilled or frozen semen.

If you have reserved a puppy and are visiting after 6+ weeks (once the puppies have been vet
checked and have received their first immunizations, not before), or are picking up at 8 weeks or
later,  I would like to share my guidelines for visits.

Visits are scheduled on weekends or in some cases late afternoon/early evening for weeknights.  At
6+ weeks,  puppies are playful for only 20-30 minutes and not after they have eaten, so I try to arrange
times and feed accordingly.

Before arriving, please discuss with children that they are not to hold a puppy unless they are sitting
still with their little bottom on the floor. Puppies are wiggly things, and yes, if dropped they can break.
Please, no stops at other kennels or Petco etc. before arriving at my home.  You would think this
would be obvious but on numerous occasions over the years families have stopped for puppy food or
a last minute item. Be ready to remove your shoes. This may seem extreme but doggie-day-cares,
boarding facilities and dog parks have been routinely closed due to Parvo and respiratory diseases.
You could stop for gas, or at a rest stop/restaurant, and track through a spot where an affected dog
has either  urinated or defecated and thus expose my dogs.
Puppies are not immune until they have ALL their shots.

Please don't bring another pet with you. Any older, apparently healthy dog, can be carrying and
shedding something that they may have had when they were younger and are now carriers, or be
shedding worms/parasites and show no symptoms. This can also happen with Brucellosis, a disease  
which you can't vaccinate for which is transmitted by urine, either fresh or dried, and can easily be
picked up at dog classes, rest areas or dog parks.  

I am keenly aware that a new puppy is exciting but let's limit the number of people you bring with you.
Your friends, neighbors, extended family and all of the neighborhood children will have plenty of time to
visit YOUR puppy when you take it home. When you ask to bring a crowd, it is NOT just your puppy, but
the entire litter you potentially put at risk since your puppy will be going back with their litter mates after
your visit.
If you've read this far, you understand the risk is multiplied. I know the other new owners will
likewise appreciate this rule being in place for the safety and well being of their puppy too,

many have been waiting for over a year for their puppy.

I'd also suggest you follow some of the same
cautious procedures as your puppy completes his or her
immunizations; limiting exposure to dog parks, daycare, pet stores etc., and only allowing them to
meet other pets you know are healthy and receive routine vet care.

I do understand that you want to be a part of your new puppy's life, so I share updated pictures
frequently and you'll have pictures of parents. Puppies are fragile for such a short time, I promise the
weeks will fly by, let's all work together to keep them healthy and minimize
risk until they are fully immunized.

call Kathy Salvucci,  610-796-1718 (weeknights after 7 PM preferred)
or e-mail Ksalvucci@aol.com