The first dog breeding conference I ever attended took place in Toulouse, South of France, in 2003. I was still a veterinary student at this time, with no clear idea of what my future would be. For the first time, I was seeing pictures of breeding kennels. Definitely an incredibly valuable learning experience since back then, to me those were really unfamiliar places. For sure, seeing a few pictures wasn’t going to make me an expert in this field (it would take me many more years !). But it did something great : for the first time, it gave me ideas on what to expect from a breeding kennel.
Pictures are powerful learning tools. “I’ve seen this” demonstrates your experience. In my humble opinion, it is also the first step to stimulate two of the greatest skills of our human mind : curiosity and imagination. When I was working at the veterinary school in Alfort, (Paris), that’s what we wanted for our veterinary students. Pictures of breeding kennels were not easy to find so each time we were visiting a structure, we were asking for permission to take photos for “educative purpose”. I am still doing that today, and I can tell you our new smartphones have made this way easier than it was in the past !
But recently, I came across something that totally changed the game : it is the social media platform called Pinterest. When I first got there, I randomly typed “kennel” and “cattery” in their integrated search engine. I was curious to see what will come up. I wasn’t disappointed since I was brought to a brand new world. Before, we were taking as many pictures as possible to have a unique database that very few could watch. Today, those exact same things are within the grasp of anybody, thanks to Pinterest.
Why do I find this great ? I always tell people that setting up a kennel or a cattery is, very often, about improvisation. We do with what we have, we build something from scratch. It is not so different than art. What Pinterest brings is inspiration. It allows you to see what others have done. It gives you ideas in a field where nothing is written in stone.