12 November 2008

Yorkie Breeder Featured on Animal Planet's 'Dogs 101'

Denise Ronayne has been breeding dogs for 20 years, a family business called Country Home Yorkies that she runs out of her own home. She raises and trains Yorkshire terriers and miniature dachshunds, not as show dogs, but as family pets.

The dogs have the run of the place, with dog beds and dog “playpens” in every room. Two very young litters of puppies — their eyes have not yet opened — rest with their mothers in playpens in the computer room. They are painfully cute, soft as velvet, each one able to fit in the palm of your hand.

Once the puppies are old enough to be adopted, Ms. Ronayne said, she spends hours interviewing prospective dog owners, making sure the dog and owner are the right fit. “I want to know how the dog is going to affect your life,” she said. “I try to match the personality of the dog to the home.”

She has a long list of clientele that includes NFL players and coaches, doctors, CEOs and airline pilots, who have each chosen to pay nearly $2,000 for one of her signature pets. Without the media exposure gained by bringing dogs to shows, Ms. Ronayne said, her business has grown mostly by word of mouth and referrals.

That may change this weekend, when her Yorkshire terriers will be featured on “Dogs 101,” a television show on Animal Planet that features different breeds of dogs every week. Television crews came into Ms. Ronayne’s home three times to tape footage for the show, Ms. Ronayne said, and the dogs played and nuzzled on a bear rug in her living room.

“It was delightful, certainly, to be noticed,” she said. “This is really a small family business. It’s something I love doing.”

“Dogs 101” introduces Animal Planet viewers to different breeds of dogs every week. Along with Yorkshire terriers, this weekend’s episode will feature bloodhounds, Great Danes, Shih Tzus and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

[Source: The Worcester Telegram]