I was raised in inland San Diego County. My family owned and continues to own 2 1/2 acres in the hills east of El Cajon, just enough land to have all kinds of interesting animals and critters. We owned goats, horses, chickens, ducks, rabbits, geese, and of course cats and dogs. And I loved them all! I spent most of my days interacting with our animals. I was so curious about them, about how they behaved, how they bred, how they cared for their young, and the jobs they could perform as domesticated animals and how our family benefitted from owning them.
We also had regular visitors from the hillside including deer, coyote, rattlesnakes, skunks, opossum, raccoons, and many, many large birds of prey. Sometimes the interactions between the wild animals and our domesticated animals didn’t end well. I learned quickly how important it was to protect our domesticated animals that were part of our family. It meant having to set up barriers to keep the wild animals out and using traps (hav-a-heart) to remove them when necessary.
Releasing weekly videos with:
√ product review
√ fun adventures
√ And always cute puppies!
Going off to college took me took me away from east county San Diego and away from the animals I loved and put me in Orange County. Now, you might think in college I studied animals or biology or something in a field of science, but no, I got my BA degree in Graphic Arts, which was another passion of mine. I love art and design and I love the technical side of it. For a while I worked as a graphic artist in Orange County and also in Riverside County. I also got married, moved to the suburbs, and then decided to go to work for myself! I began my career in marketing with Swift Design Solutions.
But my love for animals continued. We just had to go “smaller” since we now lived in a development. No more horses and goats! We switched to having dogs and rabbits. Interestingly, we decided on the smallest dog breed, the Chihuahua, and the largest rabbit breed, the New Zealand whites! Unfortunately, we couldn’t have cats because my husband and daughter are allergic to them, but instead, along the way we had other small critters. I believe my kids greatly benefited from having animals.
My friend and my older sister holding my baby bunnies
Look at those smiles! No one can resist a baby bunny! This particular litter of rabbits was one of my favorites. Mommy, Mrs. Bun Bun was all gray with ears straight up, and daddy, Mr. Bun Bun was a white and gray lop eared rabbits. Some of the babies grew to have one ear up and the other down. In my opinion, bunnies are one of the cutest baby creatures of all!
Newborn Chihuahua puppy and newborn New Zealand White rabbit
Surprisingly a newborn Chihuahua is about the same size as a newborn New Zealand White rabbit. It’s fun to compare the two babies together and get twice the love! Both puppies and bunnies are born with their eyes and ears tightly sealed. Within a couple weeks their eyes and ears open. In this picture I was admiring both babies before their eyes had opened.
Why Every Family Should Experience Animals
I wanted our children to have the experience of watching animals breed and raise their offspring – an experience FAR better than a textbook or video might provide on the subject of animal husbandry. Very few schools in my area offer FFA or 4H programs, unfortunately. I fully support providing this educational resource in public schools and am saddened to see them end because of budget cuts or because of the do-gooder mentality of people who oppose them. Teaching children the correct way to love and care for a pet can be an invaluable, life long lesson for a human child at the same time the pet is enjoying his life doing what he was selectively bred to do. Did you know, Chihuahuas were bred to sit on their person’s lap?
My kids learned through experience to care for animals, much like I did in my upbringing. They learned greater lessons on responsibility, they learned to interact and socialize animals, to clean up after them, to provide health care for them. Raising animals teaches children about vaccinations, and my children even learned to do the injections themselves. Raising animals has given my children confidence and knowledge that you can only get through hands-on experience. Furthermore, I think it’s dangerous to indoctrinate children into believing that it’s morally wrong to breed animals. It’s sadly becoming the “flavor of the month” recently to oppose animal breeding and to promote rescue-only as the sole way to have a dog, cat, rabbit or any other family pet.
Kelly holding kitty funeral as a kid
Living out in the country with so many animals meant that occasionally we lost some. On the one hand, a pet loss can be traumatic for a child, but we found our way of dealing with the loss. Every time a goldfish or a baby duck, or God forbid, a kitten passed away, I held a neighborhood service for that precious life that was lost. We would gather all the kids and our trusted dog, Moss to gather around the burial site while I spoke a few words of love! I truly believe holding these services was an important part of my emotional mend for each sweetie pie we lost. It was a way to memorialize them, reflect on the good memories we had made, and of course, to gather together with good friends and loved ones.
Recently at the ripe old age of 14, my beloved Chihuahua Tina passed away. It was extremely difficult to accept the loss. But rather than the more traditional memorials such as getting an urn with her ashes, I found myself wishing I could hold a memorial service at my childhood home. It’s interesting how the memories of our childhood affect us for our entire lives!
My Statement about Breeding Animals
Families should own pets. Pets provide love, comfort, companionship, and even service in many cases. In most loving households, a pet becomes a beloved family member who loves, who doesn’t judge, and who is eager to spend time with you, and simply wants to be loved in return and cared for. This human-animal relationship goes back millenia. Early domestication of animals began when we figured out benefits we received from having animals around, we caught wild pigs, cattle, horses, goats, and birds and kept them in pens. Domesticated animals provided food for us in some cases, transportation, and even assisted farmers by working in the fields in other cases.
Cats proved their value by providing pest control, and wolves provided protection and helped with hunting. Humans learned to breed certain traits into animals. Dogs became not only hunters and protectors, but they also were bred to herd animals, to guard us from dangerous animals or burrowing critters, and to specialize in skills such as searching and identifying dangers. We learned to value dog breeds for their individual qualities, and those qualities were fine-tuned through selective breeding. We quickly learned to not only develop the traits of certain dog breeds, but also the aesthetics of each particular breed.
In recent years, due in large part to disgusting mass breeding programs, also known as puppy mills, society is changing its opinion on the breeding of animals. All breeders are lumped together as being callous, uncaring, and only breeding for the profits. There’s no arguing that mass breeding programs naturally result in horrid conditions, sick animals, and mistreatment and cruelty. But as a reaction to the cruelty of puppy mills, our society is moving dangerously toward outlawing breeding all together.
Already in place are licensing codes and fees that favor eliminating animal breeding, but more insidious is the changing zeitgeist that portrays all breeders as evil and immoral. In 2019 the state of California passed a law banning pet stores from purchasing from breeders, requiring them to sell only from shelters. This law may not be such a bad idea as it helps to connect families with dogs looking for a loving home. But if we go so far as to outlaw breeding altogether, it will be a death sentence to responsible family breeders and eventually to all purebred dogs.
Responsible breeders are not immoral!
At Sweetie Pie Pets, we believe strongly in the method of socialization. All of our breeding adults are family pets in loving homes. All of our puppies are born and hand raised in one of our loving Sweetie Pie Pets breeder homes. Starting at an early age it is imperative to interact, set routines, pet and play with your puppy, basically allowing them to become familiar with your routines. Take your puppy on walks, go to pet-friendly stores, get him or her accustomed to other dogs, to strangers, to children, etc. Give your puppy a variety of stimulation — cars, vacuum cleaners, cats or other pets, relatives who might come and visit.
Neighborhood kids play date
As our kids were growing up we were able to share the puppy love with the neighborhood kids. Remembering back to my own childhood, spending time with our animal was my favorite daily activity and I feel grateful to have been able to share that same experience with my own children.
My Nephew holding a Sweetie Pie
My kids were nearly grown when my sister’s first son was born. She was in school and I worked from home so I got to spend the first 2 years of his life as his nanny. He helped me with the puppies and we had so much fun. We created many wonderful memories that I hope he refers back to when he’s grown. My sister and nephew and family are part of our Sweetie Pie family with Bristol and Blue.
I believe responsible breeders and rescue organizations should be willing to work together for the greater good of people and animals everywhere. It’s time more breeders become involved in rescue work and it’s time rescues stop accusing responsible breeders of contributing to over population of homeless dogs. The stray dogs found in shelters and rescues are not the products of responsible breeders. Hand raised puppies do not end up in a shelters. And buying from a responsible breeder should not be considered immoral. That judgement would be similar to shaming a family for bearing and rearing their own children in spite of so many children awaiting adoption in foster care. If a rescue is what you’re passionate about, I definitely recommend that route. But rescues simply aren’t the right choice for every family. And that’s OK.
Sweetie Pie Pets affiliate families
Affiliate breeders Carol and Carlos and family with Sasha and Lilo
Carol and Carlos are long time friends of the Swifts. They own their own business and work from home so their Sweetie Pies are the lucky ones who never have to be home alone! Carol and family joined the Sweetie Pie Pets family in 2018 when we brought home our beautiful Lilo from Germany. Lilo had her first litter of puppies in September 2019, a beautiful girl named Crystal! Carol’s family enjoyed hand raising Crystal and are are looking forward to future grandbabies. in January 2020 the Carmonas welcomed a little blue merle Chihuahua named Sasha into their family. In 2021 Lilo retired and Sasha’s daughter Rosie became the Carmona’s 3rd Sweetie Pie. I’m grateful to the Carmona family for giving my sweetie pies both loving homes. We’re hoping for more babies from Lilo in 2020 and beautiful merle babies from Sasha in 2021.
Affiliate breeders Melissa and Garrett and family with Emiko, Frida, and Vivian.
I first met Melissa and Garrett and their kids in 2017 when they adopted their beautiful short coat Chihuahua Vivian from us. We spent quite a lot of time getting to know each other during the entire adoption process and I discovered they are true animal lovers just like me. Some of their stories sounded so similar to my childhood upbringing with all sorts of animal adventures including a Bearded Dragon named Monkey, a Tortoise named Miss Maggie, a rabbit named Boo Boo, and a Boston Terrier Paisley. Along with their other pets, Melissa and Garrett and family have Sweetie Pies Emiko, Frida, and Vivian. We are extremely grateful to Melissa and family for hand raising Emiko’s first litter of FIVE puppies born in December 2019! We’re excited for Frida’s first litter hopefully in November or December 2020.
Affiliate breeders Mari and Holgar and family with Daisy
Mari and Holgar and family give our little Daisy a loving home. They own their own business so lucky Daisy gets to go to work with her mommy and daddy every day. We’re excited for Daisy’s upcoming litter in fall of 2021.
Affiliate breeders Vanessa and Czer and family
Vanessa and her family give a loving home to our short coat sisters Anna and Maria who came here from Russia in 2019. Anna is a lilac and Maria is a chocolate, both with beautiful baby doll faces. Vanessa already had her own Yorkies so Anna and Maria have plenty of fur friends to pass their days with. Vanessa is a stay at home mommy so Anna and Maria are the lucky dogs who get to be home with their mommy all day, every day!