Wednesday, January 09, 2013


A Dog…

Is not JUST a dog.

It is not disposable.  When you get a dog, it becomes a family member.  It wants your love and attention.  It wants to play and cuddle.  It needs to be fed, watered, petted, played with, and kept out of the weather.  It needs good quality food and a sheltered, dry place to sleep.  It needs training and regular vet care.  It has LOTS of energy when it’s young, and maybe extra energy longer depending on its breed.  Above all, it worships you and wants to please you so badly it will keep trying no matter what, to the very last breath it exhales.

If you get a Dog…

This is that fuzzy, shedding warm body--
on the large side-- in Amy Breckinridge
Smith's lap!
It may slow down a little, but it will never really grow up.  You should be willing to live with the equivalent of an affectionate, mischievous and perhaps over-sized toddler for however long your dog lives.  You should be willing to clean up the things that come out of both ends.  You should be willing to give baths and wipe away eye boogers, clean out ears, cut toenails, and even brush its teeth.  You (not the dog) should learn to keep the trash covered or it’ll end up all over the floor, put away your shoes or they’ll get chewed, and come home on time or your neighbors might hear frustration barking and you might step in a surprise when you open the door.  You should be ready to give it more vet care as it gets older no matter the cost, and know that it might get sick and need extra help.  You should love it enough not to dump it in a shelter because it got too big, got old, or sick, or too tired to play with your kids anymore.  You should welcome a fuzzy, shedding warm body onto your lap.  And above all, you should be willing to accept tons of exuberant, wet dog kisses.

A beautiful old lady dumped in a
shelter on Christmas Day, 2012

You should have the brains to plan ahead and know how your future will affect your new family member: What happens when the dog gets bigger than you thought it would, you move or move in with someone, develop an allergy, get married, have a baby, have another baby, go away to school, take a job overseas, or join the military and deploy?  And if the unthinkable happens and you really can’t keep this dog that treasures every second it spends with you, can you put forth the effort to find it a home with someone else who will love it for the rest of its life? 

Or will you simply break its heart?

If you had a child and had to downsize your house, would you drop off your child at an orphanage that might kill him or her after only a couple of days?  Your dog is part of your family.  It adores you, feels loneliness and anxiety when you leave, feels pain in both its body and soul when it’s hurt, and will feel terror if you abandon it. 

A Dog…

13 (yes, 13) year old female Great Dane
dumped at a shelter on January 10, 2013
Is not something to chain to a tree or toss outside in the yard.  It’s not okay to leave it in cold or freezing temperatures, the rain or snow, or the blazing sun and suffocating heat in the summer.  It’s not okay to forget to feed it or give it fresh water.  It’s not okay to let it suffer and be in pain because you don’t have the money to take it to a vet.  It’s not a piece of trash to be pushed out of your car in the park or at a rest stop, or turned over to a shelter when it’s 10, or 12, or 15 years old.

And a Dog is NEVER a target for your anger or aggression.  

It is a living, breathing creature that depends completely on you for EVERYTHING.  From the second you decide to exert ownership over a puppy or an adult dog, its fate is completely and utterly in your hands.

So think birth control.

If you can’t love your new puppy or dog forever, if you don’t have the patience to train it and deal with the things required to take care of it, if you can’t stay in its life for the long haul, then save some poor dog the misery and put the equivalent of a condom on yourself:

Don’t get one to begin with. 

Yvonne Navarro
January 09, 2013

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