Rachel Johnson deliberately bred her cockapoo. Good or bad?

Did Rachel Johnson, Boris Johnson’s sister and an LBC presenter, decide to deliberately breed her cockapoo dog, Ziggy, in order to satisfy her maternal instincts? To feel better? As a form of therapy? Maybe all three but she did it and she did it after facing personal loss with the passing of her mother. It seems that its purpose was to alleviate the emotional pain of that event. Understood.

Rachel Johnson and her cockapoo Ziggy and one of her puppies
Rachel Johnson and her cockapoo Ziggy and one of her puppies. MARK HARRISON/DAILY MAIL/DMG MEDIA LICENSING.

Rachel Johnson lost her mother in mid-September. She says that it was a “big push factor” when it came to planning the puppies a while back. She said that her children showed no signs of producing grandchildren. So, get the dog to produce some 😒. The Omicron Covid semi-lockdown (self-imposed) helped to germinate the seed of the thought of deliberately mating her cockapoo with a friend’s male dog.

So back on September 18th, Fiona Mates and Johnson hatched a plan behind their husbands’ backs. She took Ziggy with her when having supper at her friend’s home. She took Ziggy upstairs to play with Baxter, Mates’s dog. She left them alone in the hope and expectation that they would mate. They did. Apparently, Baxter performed like “a randy teenager” rather than a dog “knocking on in dog years”.

A month later Ziggy’s nipples declared to the world that she was pregnant. Johnson texted Mrs Mates to tell her that she was taking Ziggy to the vets for her to be scanned and to confirm pregnancy. In the consulting room her eyes were glued to the screen as Mr Carmichael, the vet, passed a probe over her furry belly. Johnson realised that she was a grandmother and asked how many puppies there were. The veterinarian said that he could see three but “there could be four, even more” because “dogs have split uteruses”.

It seems that Ziggy might also have attracted the interest of a beautiful black spaniel called Olly, who lives across the garden. She felt that Ziggy might have mated with Olly. It looks as though Baxter is the father and there were four puppies.

Johnson is completely enamoured of them all. She’s watching them for therapy. At birth she got a friend over to help. Her friend offered the puppies to their mother’s nipple while Johnson dealt with the other tasks, as per the manual: “break the sac, then lift the puppy upside-down and rub it into life. This I did with bare hands-and to my huge relief the puppy started wriggling”.

All went well and Ziggy nursed her puppies dutifully. She said that she was not allowed to cuddle or touch them in case Ziggy abandoned her maternal duties. But now she can pick them up. They tumble about to her joy. They squeak a lot and so she’s called the area of the kitchen where they are: “Squeaker’s Corner” after Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, London.

She is being gently hounded by her associates and friends asking whether a puppy might be available for adoption. She is not sure whether to keep one and no doubt she will have to adopt them out.

The headline in The Times is “After months of grief came puppies”. Grief has turned to happiness thanks to the puppies. There’s nothing like puppies for therapy. Therapy which makes you feel better at a time of emotional loss and distress. That’s the big upside. I totally get it.

The downside is also obvious. She’s brought four dogs into the world when there are unwanted dogs in animal shelters across the UK. In a strictly mathematical formula (which is probably unfair) she has denied four rescue dogs in animal shelters the opportunity to live in a good home. That is unfair in reality because the people who are enquiring about adopting a puppy probably wouldn’t adopt an adult dog from a shelter. But they might.

And, further, it does send out a bad signal to others. It seems to say that breeding your dog is acceptable. Why weren’t these dogs neutered? In the cat world the default human behaviour for cat owners is to spay and neuter your cat. What’s going on in the Johnson household? It seems that she deliberately kept Ziggy unsterilised in the potential that she would call upon her to produce offspring at some time in the future.

When owners of female cats allow their cats to become pregnant it is deemed to be irresponsible. Has Rachel Johnson been irresponsible? I will leave that question with you.

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