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Community Highlights: Meet Laney Wilks of Fine and Dandy Aussiedoodles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laney Wilks.

Hi Laney, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always been a free-spirit, loving the outdoors, nature, and animals — pretty much the female version of Huck Finn! One of my best childhood buddies was an Old English Sheepdog whom I loved dearly. I loved her adorable, soft, shaggy coat! She was such a fun, cool-looking dog. We had many grand adventures together!

Then, once I was a bit older, I discovered Australian Shepherds and, a bit after that, Poodles. I found the work ethic and problem-solving skills of both breeds to be exceptional. Not only did these dogs tick off every box of my expectations of outdoor adventuring but their intelligence far surpassed many other breeds.

When I was researching and studying the art of breeding dogs, I learned I could carefully blend Mini Aussies with Moyen Poodles to achieve the fluffy look of an Old English Sheepdog while keeping the workability, agility, and crazy smarts of the Aussie and the Poodle – all wrapped up in a medium-sized package! **Cue the angelic voices**

And, just like that, a life-long love of the Mini Aussiedoodle was born. I spent endless hours studying genetics and how to achieve this perfect dog. I’m happy to report we have succeeded in creating gorgeous, healthy family companions who love to do what their people do. Our Fine and Dandy Aussiedoodles are always up for the task and ready for adventure! I won’t lie, I get super excited when fellow hikers, campers, or outdoor adventurers purchase one of our dogs.

Knowing that my pups get to continue the adventure with their new families is a great happiness for me. I love when I see one of my dogs in matching bandana for a family photo. I actually have a family that bought matching Christmas pajamas for them and their dog! These are the types of homes I try to place my pups in. Homes where the dogs are true members of the family!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
One of the biggest challenges my husband and I faced when building this business is communicating to everyone that not all dog breeders are bad. Sometimes there seems to be a stigma attached to the profession, and it can be difficult overcoming it. Just like any other business/profession, some people hold themselves to a higher standard than others. People should research any breeder they may buy from.

I pride myself on the quality of life my momma’s and daddy’s dogs live, and I pride myself on how we raise our puppies. We even moved across the nation to Canton, North Carolina, from Las Vegas, Nevada, for our dogs! The large property and the mild climate are much better for our active dogs. One of our taglines is “Quality Lifestyle, Quality Dog.”

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We are a small hobby breeder specializing in Mini Aussiedoodles, and all of our dogs live on the farm with us and are a part of the family. Our Fine and Dandy Aussiedoodles grow to be 28 to 32 pounds, are 18 to 19 inches tall, and are excellent family members!

When I know my dogs have gone into a home and are the center of attention and become beloved family members, I feel I have done my job correctly. Breeding two of the smartest dogs together, an Australian Shepherd and a Poodle, creates an excellent, well-rounded companion who can indeed do it all—while looking great too! The responsibility of matching each pup to an approved family is an honor and a responsibility we don’t take lightly.

People and families interested in one of our pups undergo an application process based on many factors, including home environment, level of commitment, family budget, experience with dogs, and more. We also enjoy meeting prospective pet-parents, whether in person, online or over the phone.

Our momma’s and daddy’s dogs are raised with us on our property, have climate-controlled living spaces, and are only kenneled at bedtime. During the day, they can play on a custom-built doggie playhouse or run across six acres of mountain country, or go swimming in their own river (supervised of course!). We truly live for our dogs and find joy in caring for them and their puppies. We love making happy families!

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
When folks are looking to add a puppy or dog to the family, they should not make the decision quickly or lightly. Believe it or not, it’s a decision that will alter the course of their family’s life for years to come. Adding a canine family member is one of the best decisions that can be made, but thought and planning should go into it, and if using a breeder, prospective pet parents should be prepared to wait several months for their new puppy.

During the pandemic, I noticed many people made the quick decision to get a dog. They were out of work, stuck at home, and in a hurry to fill a void of loneliness or boredom. Dogs are fantastic pet therapists so they certainly rose to the occasion! And, in some aspects, it was a great idea. However, as workplaces began to open again, the dogs were left at home alone for many hours a day and virtually neglected. Sometimes they’d end up at a shelter or handed off to someone else, or even stuck in the back yard. This is why I’m so passionate about families thinking forward and planning for a long-term home for their pets.

The pandemic also affected the proper socialization of dogs. Puppies need to be exposed to a variety of people, sounds, locations, textures, etc. And when we were all staying home, dogs didn’t get the exposure they needed. This has resulted in dogs being more shy or anxious in different situations or around people. Pet parents should be aware of this and be extra patient with their dogs and work with them to overcome their worries.

In summary, my husband and I love what we do, and we love our dogs! While we’re partial to our Fine and Dandy Mini Aussiedoodles, any dog who is a good fit for the family is a treasure to be loved. Please follow our adventures on any of our social media accounts!

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