Too much puppy love?
Local resident, part of Bouvier
rescue group, warns that movies can harm pet populations
Photo by ALAN WARD
Szkrybalo, pictured above with two
Bouviers, remembers the 101 Dalmatians craze all too
It was rated PG, but Howell resident Glenda Szkrybalo says the
recent movie The Dog of Flanders scared her to death.
I can see the same thing happening that happened with the
remake of 101 Dalmatians, Szkrybalo said. Everybody
thought the puppies were so cute and they rushed out to buy
|Breed has been
viewed different ways
as a giant breed, the Bouvier des Flanders originated in
Belgium where it was considered a poor mans horse.
During World War I and World War II, the dogs were used
for everything from pulling ambulance litters to
artillery carts. The dogs were also used to run messages
across enemy lines.
In rural settings, the dogs were used to herd sheep,
pull carts, and as a general mode of transportation.
But, says Szkrybalo (pronounced scribble
low) many of those dogs soon ended up abandoned or unwanted
by their owners, who didnt realize how much work owning a
pure-bred dog can be.
The same thing is true with Bouviers (the dog featured in
the new movie), Szkrybalo said. They are very gentle and
intelligent, but they need a lot of training even my
14-year-old Bouvier still needs training.
How much training?
Ive known Bouviers who have eaten the siding off a house
and a living room full of furniture, Szkrybalo said. A
bored Bouvier is a destructive Bouvier.
Weighing in at somewhere between 87-110 pounds, a Bouvier
closely resembles an overgrown teddy bear, but with one
They dont have fur, Szkrybalo said. They have
hair, and it needs to be brushed and groomed everyday and
their beards need to be cleaned everyday as they get food in
Ever since her father presented her with a Bouvier puppy when
Szkrybalo was 15, shes been dedicated to the Bouvier breed;
currently, her love of the giant animals means Szkrybalo is
serving as president of the Bouvier Rescue Society.
Were based in Michigan, but we take in dogs from all
over the United States and Canada, Szkrybalo said. We
take in between three to six dogs a week from owners who no
longer want them.
Szkrybalos words to the wise: You can have a Bouvier in
a smaller space like an apartment, but youd better be
prepared to give them a lot of exercise.
You also have to be willing to groom them every day or have
enough money to pay someone else to do it.
Szkrybalo owns several Bouviers ranging in age from 2 to 14;
her 2-year-old male, Gus, runs five miles a day, and
participates in herding competitions and agility shows.
They are wonderful dogs, Szkrybalo said. But theyre
not for everybody.
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