Monday, June 27, 2011

Think Twice Before You Get a Dog

I know my siblings think this post is about my dog, but it isn't. :) But I've been so frustrated lately to see many cases of discarded pets. I can't believe that people think so little of an animal's life.

Last week, my neighbor was walking near the neighborhood park and found a young "Chi-weenie". In case you don't know, that is a dachshund/ chihuahua mix dog. My neighbor notified the city animal shelter in case the owner is looking for the dog. She also took the dog in to the vet to see if it is micro-chipped. It isn't. She walked all around the area where she found the dog to try to find someone who might recognize it. So far, no one has even put up a "lost dog" sign.

Another friend of mine was running along the walking path behind our neighborhood and a young purebred Alaskan husky puppy came running up to her. It ran along side her and followed her home. She also went back to the path to see if someone might be looking for their lost dog. She notified the animal shelter, and also had the vet check for a micro-chip. After several days, still no one has come forth to claim the dog.

A neighbor of mine down the street has a dog that is kind of neglected. He is left out in the back yard most of the time, come rain or shine. He tries to jump the fence, so is always tied up. I can't imagine spending my entire life tied to the end of a rope, and I don't think animals like it any better.

Here are some tips that I would like to give to people who are considering owning a dog.
1. KNOW YOUR BREED Carefully study the breed of dog of which you are interested. Different breeds do have different personality traits. Make sure that you have the breed that is right for your lifestyle. If you are inactive, then an active dog such as a lab or hunting dog may not be the right breed for you. I suggest you go for a small breed that has shorter legs, and needs less exercise. What would be a walk around the block for you, will be much more for a small animal.

2. KNOW THE COST Consider how much you will spend on the dog per year. If you can't afford vet bills to have your animal spayed or neutered, or if you can't afford the immunizations, then you shouldn't have a dog. If you can't afford the food each month, then you might consider something like a goldfish.

3. DOES IT FIT YOUR LIFE? Consider how much a dog would be part of your life. If you are going to just put it in the back yard and forget about it, then you probably shouldn't be a dog owner. Buy an alarm system instead. Alarm systems don't need to be walked, and they don't poop.

4. PREPARE AHEAD Consider what you will do if you need to leave town. Don't think of your pet as disposable. If you can't find someone to care for your pet while you are away, then don't get one in the first place.

5. PREPARE TO TRAIN Learn how to train your dog. Don't dispose of the dog just because it has behavioral problems. Trust me, all dogs start out with some kind of behavioral problem. It is up to you, the owner, to train the dog how to behave appropriately.

6. PREPARE TO EXERCISE Dogs that get exercise have much less behavioral problems than frustrated inactive ones. If you can't devote time to walking your dog, you shouldn't have one.

7. GET YOUR PET FIXED There are already enough animals without owners, we don't need more puppies without homes. Unless you are a responsible breeder, you should have your pet fixed. To me, being responsible means not over breeding a female, and making sure that you can find homes for the pups.

I know that an animal's life isn't as valuable as a human's, but we have a responsibility to take care of them. With a little fore-thought and planning, we can make sure that our animal shelters aren't over crowded, and that no animals are carelessly discarded.
My Sally jumping for joy. :)


Mr. Giggles said...

My youngest would have been perfectly happy with the Husky. But if anyone wants a dachshund/terrier mix, my oldest had his long before you wrote this post, and we need to get rid of him (the dog, not the son).

Grannymar said...

Very good advice and it includes the reasons that I do not have a dog. Nowadays a visit to Elly's means I get to play with and walk Buffy, her 10month old Patterdale terrier.

Erin said...

So my backyard neighbor who has well over 20 dogs and keeps them all in the house/garage/TINY outside kennel (oh and at least 5 cats) is not being a good dog breeder? I really do love dogs but not when 15 or more are barking at the same time in my back yard each morning and evening. Apparently they're show dogs, but I still find it irresponsible and sort of disgusting to own that many dogs and keep them all in such a confined space.

Nene said...

Rintor's wife and kids found a black lab puppy last week. They walked around the neighborhood asking people if it was their dog. Then they went home and put up flyers on the telephone poles and light poles. They decided to keep him 24 hours before they called the animal shelter. Luckily, because they had walked around the neighborhood with him, the owner had asked another neighbor if they had seen his dog and they were able to point him in the right direction. The puppy also had no chip and no collar or ID tag.

When I was at Cub Scout Day Camp last week, we took our boys to the park during free time (next door to our Day Camp). As we were leaving to go back to our next class, we saw a parakeet in a tree. We felt bad, but we couldn't stop to try to catch him. Later we heard that several parakeets had escaped from our city zoo. I would rather like to think that was the case instead of thinking someone had let him go because they didn't want him.

Inklings said...

Erin, You have my deepest sympathy! That would be a trial for sure.
Delirious, I didn't think for a second that this was about your dog. By the way, after reading this, Mom said she would get a big dog if she ever has to live alone. I told her about this post and suggested a taser instead. :0)

Max Coutinho said...

Hi D,

Most probably those dogs were abandoned, poor things.
Here, every summer, there are heartless and irresponsible people who abandon their dogs in my neighbourhood. They just leave them there and go - poor animals just wander around confused *nodding*.

Case 3 - that is disrespectful *nodding*.

To me a pet is a member of the family and I adapt my life to that member's existence.

lol Sally looks so happy! She's beautiful!


Julie Kinnear said...

It is surprising how many people just ignore responsibility considerations before getting a puppy. Christmas time is a suitable occasion to remember - animals are not products, nor are they things. Therefore, fostering a dog may be a better way how to satisfy your children.