The story of Hemuli
For years there has been a lynch mob on Facebook concerning the death of Hemuli and most people participating know nothing about the issue. I have thought defending myself and telling Hemuli's story many times but I haven't done it because loosing her was still so fresh. Time heals all wounds and finally I am ready to tell what happened on my website and blog. I hope telling Hemuli's story opens the eyes of some breeders to really think what they are doing. I hope that some puppy buyers are able to see the truth behind the lies breeders tell. Someone always pays when breeders are slacking and it's never the breeder. I can honestly say from my heart that I do not recommend buying a puppy from Hemuli's breeders. The "friend" with whom I had the conversation below was living with kennel Alfheim's during the first 4-5 months of Hemuli's & Muumi's life and saw first hand the mistreatment of Hemuli.
Things I found out when I picked Hemuli (my second visit to kennel Alfheim's) :
Hemuli's mother & Francis (import from Norway) had been debarked.
Francis lived in the run. When I picked Muumi they said the dogs take turns so that everyone gets to stay indoors too and thus is socialized to living with people and ordinary household noises.
Amy, Hemuli's sister & kennel Alfheim's pick girl, didn't let me touch her.
A week before I was supposed to fly to pick Hemuli I was told her toe had broken. I had already paid her and it was no issue for me. I thought I could live without lure coursing with her. When I arrived they said Hemuli has been kept in the concrete run so that she doesn't further injure her toe while running with Amy. Keeping a puppy with broken toe alone in the concrete run sounds horrible. Still I thought it was only for a week. Later I found out they kept her in the concrete run & yard from 8 weeks to 5 months. When Hemuli broke her toe no-one was witnessing it. That's how alone she was. Her only companion was Amy who was more afraid of people than Hemuli. No wonder Hemuli became so scared of people and noises normal to any dog living in flat. Kennel Alfheim's gave Hemuli zero chance to survive the normal life. In my opinion with their selfishness they condemned Hemuli to be scared shitless for the rest of her life.
When Hemuli arrived I promised her she would never have to be on the other side of the fence again in her life. That promise I kept to the end.
After her first month in Finland I knew:
a) she wouldn't be able to handle mentally a dog show (read: people & noises)
b) she wasn't mentally breeding quality
I was ok with this because I had Muumi. Muumi is another Alfheim's puppy who can't handle dog shows for somewhat same reasons. Contrary to Muumi who has been able to live quality life Hemuli never got better. In my opinion she stayed exactly the same.
Before putting her down I had decided two things:
a) I have to start using diapers on Hemuli when going outdoors with her. She tended to pee under herself if she heard someone else moving in stairway while we were for example waiting for elevator.
b) I have to start using shoes on Hemuli. Her nail beds suffered (there was blood) because every time she spotted a person outdoors she desperately tried to crawl away.
Kennel Alfheim's claims there was another suitable home for Hemuli in Finland. The truth is there wasn't one. Hemuli would have needed home with zero interest in dog showing and guarantee she won't be returned to me nor Alfheim's nor put down.
Alfheim's & their cohorts have also blamed the vet who put Hemuli down but in my opinion the vet showed more respect & empathy towards Hemuli & her suffering than these idiots ever could. It's easy to shout from the sidelines but I wish You had walked a mile in Hemuli's shoes.
Conversation with a friend October 27th-November 7th 2012:
copy paste from Facebook:
ME: "I am seriously down so dont worry why I am not in FB. I just dont feel like it anymore. I have finally opened up abt Hemuli`s issues in Finland to breed enthusiasts here and videotaped her walking with me the route I call playfully "city route" since I walk through a buss station and there`s metrostation on one side & mall on the other side. I am really sorry but I cant handle this all. I know everyone will be blaming me for ruining her and I feel so bad for not knowing how to help her. I honestly fear she wont live more than 2-3 years. She is propably the most frightfull dog I have ever owned. Only dog coming even close is my Felix and you know what happened to Felix. Hemuli already has separation anxiety symptoms. She is scared every time we go out. Anyway I am sorry but I cant handle all the shit falling upon me when I have to look in the eyes of an innocent puppy who is in a death row already and it`s going to be my hand that`s bloody again."
the actual email:
ME: "Going that route again with her ("the city route") was hard. Watching that youtube video was devastating. I would like to believe she will be fine but after owning Felix I know different. Muumi hasnt gone "better". He was normal puppy for me at first but started to change gradually after 7-9 months. Hemuli is nothing close to normal. She was timid from day 1. Ana on the other hand has been her normal confident outgoing happy self always. She was 7 months when she arrived to Finland. She had lived outdoors in the middle of nowhere and was so happy abt all people paying attention to her. That in my opinion is a show prospect breeding dog.
I told you abt the video because I want that at least one person in States knows abt Hemuli. I understand Stephanie & Avery are friends of yours but no friend of mine can do such a thing to me what happened now. Not when they are the people in the know. I know you are a regular dog owner just like me but McLeods have a long career of breeding with what I have assumed is high standards. Breeders with reputation & 100% trustworthy.
No breeder like they can sell a dog like Hemuli abroad as a showprospect breeding dog after 2 failures with both Muumi & Ilsa without suffering from extremely severe kennel blindness. I do not trust them anymore. I think they have somehow gone over the hill. I cant recommend them to anyone and yes, I am very deeply disappointed with them.
The reasons for not returning Hemuli to them are the following:
a) fear of her being used to breeding
b) fear of her being sold forward to another "sucker" as a normal breeding quality show prospect puppy with 1200$
c) fear of antibark operation done to her
d) fear of her becoming a run dog like Francis
Besides how could I return a dog to people I do not trust anymore?
I will tell you first if Hemuli changes owner in Finland. Same if I have decided to put her down. Rest assured I tell you the minute I make the decision so you have plenty of time to try change my mind.
I think I will look how things progress during next 6 months. Hopefully she comes more accustomed to city life.
I do hope that at least in some point her breeders find out abt this. I fear the blame will land on me and they change nothing in their dog breeding & selling style. The tragedy of Hemuli repeats itself. Right now I have hard time to even write a short email to people I am sooo angry with. I have lots of work to do with Hemuli and I have no time to distance quarrel with people who cant acknowledge the wrong they have done & make it right.
I have really gotten the impression that they are happy with the money but all else doesnt interest them worth a crap.
Sorry for ranting to you since I know you like them a lot. I just want someone in US to know my view of the matter."
ME:"I feel a bit better now. It was a huge load to get off my shoulders. To tell people in Finland how badly things are with Hemuli. I have walked that route with Hemuli twice. First time just to see how she goes in more people packed area since I have mostly avoided that because of problems during our:
a) first vet visit (pooping under herself at metro station and metro train)
b) first visit to post office (I waited outside with Hemuli while Petri went inside and Hemuli couldnt take all those people & cars & noices and tried to run in every direction)
c) first visit to nearby store to quickly buy a dairy product to Hemuli & I dont remember what the other articles were (Petri waited with Hemuli in this park area nearby while I popped in the store...it was evening & dark but Hemuli saw the car lights & heard the peoples voices...she had panicked...actually the photo in FB named "Emuli in the night" was from that trip...it doesnt show how her coat is in poop.)
I had my other dog keeping company to her the first time around and it was possibly even worse than the second time. The second time was stricktly to videotape so that others could see what I mean when I say "timid". Videotape reveals more abt the seriousness of her issues. Now I dont think I have any inclination to go to that direction with her again. The other side is this big forest area with dog park and that`s where Hemuli & I will go. She can be most relaxed when she doesnt hear & see other people. That`s a bad thing for a dog living in the city or any show & breeding dog.
My first mistake was importing her. She shouldnt have gone in airplane. Just quiet living in countryside nearby with owner having drivers licence, car & no interests in showing, breeding. It was too late for her I think when she arrived in Finland. The damage was already done and the clock couldnt be turned backwards. If I could, believe me I would.
I think best thing for her now would be permanent home in countryside among other sighthounds for example. Not to be the only dog nor for a person working full time. Wonderfull would be podenco/pharaoh home with experience of "problem" dogs. Hate to say problem but "issues" tend to grow worse with age.
Still I wouldnt want to give her to anybody with slightest inclination towards showing & breeding since I know how strong that pull can be and it is totally against her best interests to be dragged in dog shows. Also it would be pointless were she returned to me later. Few people in Finland can promiss to live in the countryside next 14 years. Few can promiss to stay married and not die and therefor return the dog."
FRIEND:"I'm hoping the issues they've had with this last litter will finally open their eyes. They didn't publicize this and I found out through another friend, but they apparently placed Amy in a pet home for the same issues you are having with Hemuli. I think they were completely blind as to what was going on and I really hope they make changes now that their eyes have been opened a little."
ME:"Hi, I got so angry last night when I read abt Amy at 10pm. Steam was coming from my nostrils & ears. Thank You for telling me.
Kristiina has offered to help me and one pharaoh breeder offered a sanctuary for Hemuli in the countryside. I will talk with X today but I think I want to keep Hemuli. I KNOW I want to keep Hemuli. The problem is just "am I too selfish if I want to keep her. I fear I do that in expence of her life. That would be horrible but I love Hemuli and Moomin loves her and Petri doesnt want to give her away either. Kristiina has offered to help us as much as needed and for free and she has vast experience with german shephards. Helping owners having difficulties. She already gave us some instructions: outdoor a lot in forest & dog park (Hemuli off leash) so that she can loose all anxiety like a balloon going empty and say she`s a good girl when she takes contact in me but not overdo the compliment...just saying good girl and then making a turn in direction and going forward. I hope that makes sense because I dont know the vocabulary.
I think I am more optimistic today because of the talk I had with Kristiina last night. She had finally seen the video and called me. Anyways I am very happy of the help I am receiving."
FRIEND:”Starting with their litters...I have felt that in recent years they have taken on too much when it comes to breeding. Twice that I know of they have had 2 IG litters and 1 Ibizan litter at the same time. And when puppies from their current litter is gone then it's not long before another litter is born. I feel that because of this they have gotten to the point of wanting things to be as easy as possible for them. The puppy setup they have is great and easy, but there is a lot the puppies miss out on in the setup. The big thing I feel they miss out on is potty training. When I got my first dogs from them, they worked on crate training and potty training with their litters. They even took the litters out and socialized them a lot more. In the last few years they have slipped in those areas. They no longer work on crate training or potty training. With IGs people expect to not have a puppy well potty trained at all, but with the Ibizans they should be close to being being potty trained by the time they leave for their new homes. They haven't taken their more recent litters out for socialization much either. They used to take them to lure trials a lot and this year they barely went to any lure trials. It seems like when they do go somewhere they just haven't wanted to deal with taking the puppies. Like you, I also have an issue with the dogs in the runs that get no attention at all other than when they are let out in the morning and brought back in at night. I don't mind a dog being in the run part of the day, but they should also be brought in the house for some attention and let out in the yard to play. The runs allow you to get lazy. If puppy people come to the house to see the dogs the way Steph talks to them gives the impression that they rotate the dogs in and out of the house. That the IGs are in the house much more than they are and that they work on potty training. Before a possible IG puppy buyer comes to the house they bath the IGs and bring them all in the house and act like they are in there all the time. Then Steph will talk to the person about how many breeders will put on a show and only bring dogs in when possible puppy buyers come to the house, but you can tell we have our dogs in the house because our carpets are stained and there are beds and toys everywhere. The issue is that the Ibizans are mostly in the house. Not the IGs so much. I do think they are getting better with that though. I've noticed the younger IGs being in their house more. I also think that when the Ibizan puppies reach a certain age (12 weeks or so) they are stuck in the front yard with the adults to romp around and play, but there is little to no supervision and the older ones can get very rough. I think it was too much for the younger puppies. Letting them out to play a little and keeping an eye on them would be great. Not the all day with no supervision rough play. With Hemuli and Amy, they were stuck either out in the yard with that sort of rough play or in the run. Amy we knew from the start she was reserved and standoffish. That is not usually the puppy they would keep, but Steph loved her. Hemuli was more outgoing when younger, but I think the lack of socialization, being beat up in the yard and being stuck in a run so much with Amy caused her to become more standoffish. Avery or Steph didn't witness this but when our friend Kim stayed at the house one night she was in the front yard with Amy and Hemuli and neither of them would go to Kim or let her touch them. And Kim knows how to speak Ibizan. She is fantastic with the breed and grew up with the breed. I have not seen anyone better with dogs. As I've gotten to know the breed more I have also come to feel that the Ibizan puppies need more socialization than the IG puppies. Steph and Avery started with IGs and how they socialized them worked well. I am feeling when it comes to temperament I think the IGs bounce back quicker. They are less skeptical and a little more resilient. I think the Ibizans think more and tend to be more skeptical of things so need to have more experiences out in the world. Of course I also think genetics is at play too. It's not all socialization or all genetics. And anything I feel may have caused one issue or another is of course my opinion. I could be totally wrong.
This is two things they have done that I felt were very unethical and they involved the same person. My friend has two Ibizans from them. During the purchasing of the first one she was going to pay a certain amount. Not sure what it was. The co-breeder back east was going to take one of the puppies, but had mentioned that if it was a large litter she might take two. Well it was only a litter of 5, but at some point in the co-breeder's head it turned into that she was going to take two puppies. At that point, Steph and Avery had an extra home. The co-breeder told them to either send her two puppies or send her one puppy and $1500 for the price of the other puppy. Two of the puppies weren't being paid for and they don't sell their puppies for that much. To try and make it where everyone could get their puppy, they went to everyone and explained what was going on but fudged the truth in various ways depending on who they were talking to. They had asked the ones that weren't paying if they could manage to pay even a tiny bit to help. My friend has money and was the one paying for her puppy. The told her that the co-breeder wanted the puppy to be sold for more and wanted a certain amount back. I can't remember the exact story, but it wasn't quite the truth. Steph and Avery asked if she'd pay $2000 for her puppy. I think they negotiated it to $1800 (I'm not certain that was the exact final price). This was their idea to be able to get more money so they could afford to send $1500 to the co-breeder and only one puppy. That way everyone would get their puppy. They at some point realized they still couldn't afford to do that so decided to just send the co-breeder two puppies. At that point I feel they shouldn't have charged my friend so much for her puppy because they were no longer going through with the plan that caused them increase the puppy price. Later my friend got a second puppy from them. Around the time her puppy was going home the litter was having issues with diarrhea. My first thought was those puppies needed to be checked for coccidia and giardia. Why did I think that...because of all their 3 previous Ibizan litters, 2 of the litters got giardia or coccidia. Not a huge deal and normally with diarrhea I don't rush and test for that but with the history of their previous litters I felt they should be tested. Just before the puppy went home I texted my friend and told her that when she gets her puppy I'd take him in to be tested for coccidia and giardia ASAP. She did and he tested positive for one of them. I was at her place at the time so texted Steph to tell her. She then said so did the two puppies they still had and that they are on meds. I feel that they waited until those last couple of puppies were gone so they didn't have to pay for their treatment. That really pissed me off that they didn't test them sooner. It pissed my friend off too."
ME:”I have been given advice to give Hemuli to countryside (people living in countryside) and some hope that though it doesnt look good now she can get used to people & noices. I have tried to be optimistic & confident since that`s what Hemuli needs. I will however ask Finnish Kennel Club to put her in EJ register in Finland. I have asked them to do the same with Sylvester & Muumi. EJ comes from words Ei Jalostukseen ~ Not for breeding and after it is done you cant register any offspring to those dogs. They ask the reason for this and with Sylvester I wrote OCD, with Muumi allergies and with Hemuli "rodulle (=for breed) epätyypillinen (=not typical) arkuus (timidness, shyness)" but it doesnt translate well in google *atypical shyness for the breed*.
Who is your friend? I understand that the co-breeder in east coast is Julie Morris. I cant believe they asked 2000$?? Does this dog have a curly tail to top it all? I have wondered because they said to me that Radar`s owner is waiting for podenco and they are not asking any money from it since Radar had those problems. Then from what I understood there has been others who didnt pay as well... maybe that couple who had mr Bean? (drug addicts by the way who starved him & kept him in a crate but did give him back to Alfheim`s) Anyway I have wondered ever since my visit because from what they said I got the impression that many got their dogs without paying (in Finland dogs are usually paid pronto) that why are they giving puppies away for free and what sense is there not taking money?? I started to wonder if I was the only one actually paying. Maybe your friend paid for the whole litter too
Yes, it was tacky to ask more money & then not give money back. All because Julie decided she wanted two.
If your friend later bought another then it must be Hemuli`s litter..? Marta Bloss? Did Hemuli have giardia? I was told Muumi`s litter got diarrhea from BARF!! Now am seeing red! No mention of giardia ever! Have to check emails concerning Hemuli if there was mention of diarrhea too... I think not but am not sure. Did Hemuli`s toe got broken while being beat up in the yard for hours? Just how much did she spent time in the concrete run? I have thought it was only the time after the toe got broken. I understood Amy was not kept in the run.
I am sooo angry with Muumi`s & Hemuli`s breeders that I had to digest what you wrote to me several days before responding back. I cant understand how people like they can do such an injustice to the puppy/puppies they breed themselves!! I cant fathom how they can care so little for Hemuli`s future, how they can condemn Amy & Hemuli to live with fear that was maybe genetic in origin but could have been lessened & made so much easier for the dogs & owners to handle if the girls` breeders would have done THEIR FUCKING JOB!!! Those 4 months were the most important months of their lives!!
I am really upset AGAIN but will be ok in a minute. I have gone through these emotions since I read your email. It`s not Muumi`s & Hemuli`s fault and I dont want them to see me so upset all the time. I am angry to their breeders but they are mommy`s sweethearts. It`s just hard to understand a situation where actually rescue people seem to care more abt odd looking mutts than credited breeder cares abt the products of his carefull breeding plans.
Now to sleep :) Hemppa always sleeps with me :)
p.s. Have a nice day
p.p.s. I bolded the most important question"
FRIEND:”Yes my friend, is Marta Bloss. I talked with her on the phone a couple of days ago because she needed to also vent about Steph and Avery. She is not happy with them either for various reasons. She gave me permission to tell you this. During that conversation I learned that Hemuli's brother is having the same issues. I also learned that she overheard someone mention that Mars was quite standoffish, aloof (definition timid). I know Gretchen is also quite timid. I know with her it is partly nurture at fault, but there has to be some genetics at play too. She's also come a long way during her years to overcome it some. After I found out what this lady said about Mars, I thought they never should have used that sperm on Gretchen. Not if both have timidness in them. I don't even know if Steph and Avery knew this about Mars, or if they did and figured it was how he was raised and not genetic. It seems like half the puppies from that litter are fine and outgoing and the other half are overly timid. Also, yes Marta's first Ibizan Hound, does have a curly tail. His main issue is his testicles never dropped. I know they are mainly breeding Dragonfly for pedigree and temperament as she doesn't have the best conformation.
In the US depending on the breeder, some will give dogs away to homes. Usually they are friends, but not always. Sometimes they just don't have the money to pay right away and will make payments. Sometimes they just don't have the money. Steph and Avery don't make everyone pay. The couple with Mr. Bean (Satu`s note: drug addicts who starved the dog and kept him in crate by the way) were actually making payments. They had payed a little, but not all. Marta payed for both of hers. They would have replaced Boris, but she wasn't going to give him up. He's a sweetheart! Let's just say that some payed and some didn't.
Muumi's litter did get diarrhea. It was diet based, but not exactly sure what it was in the diet that caused it. They didn't get giardia or coccidia. Hemuli's litter did get giardia or coccidia. I'm not sure exactly how Hemuli's toe got broken because none of us saw it happen. She was out in the yard with the others when it did happen though. My assumption has always been it was out of overly rough play, but I can't be certain. Hemuli and Amy spent most of their time either in the run or in the yard. Amy was brought in the house on occasion to help with her socialization, but she wasn't in there all the time. Closer to the time that you came she started spending more time in the house. Part of that was due to Hemuli breaking her toe. They didn't want them in a run together playing to make the toe worse. The puppies for awhile had diarrhea and I had said that they want things to be as easy as possible on them so puppies started spending more time in the run. When it was just Hemuli and Amy they were in the run in the morning and at some point let out to play in the yard for hours. At night they were either put back in the run or in a crate. Depending on where Avery wanted them to sleep that night. Hemuli was not in the house very much. At least not after a certain age. When tiny babies she was of course in the house with her littermates and mother. I agree with you that they didn't do their job. They have become blind and lazy when it come to raising their puppies IMO. They want it to be as easy as possible, so they don't bother potty training or crate training anymore. They haven't socialized their last few litters nearly as well as they had they previous ones. And the amount of lies/embellishments they tell puppy buyers is astonishing. The reason I think they are blind is because it has been such a gradual change that I'm not sure they realize all of this is going on. I'm sure they are aware of some of it, but not the extent of it. I'm at a loss because they were much more attentive breeders when I got my first puppy from them almost 6 years ago. I thought highly of their breeding practices and lately my opinion has been changing."