Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some People Should Not Have Dogs II

I suppose I must be overdue for a rant. This past week has provided me with three examples to fuel one.

First Example: Last week, a woman called a volunteer dog rescue line that I answer one day a week. She wanted to know who to call about the disappearance of a chipped dog. She seemed not to understand that unless a dog is found and scanned, a missing chipped dog is not different from a missing unchipped dog. Unless, of course, she had paid for an extra alert service along with the chip. But even so, a chip is not a GPS.

She then explained the situation further. She had two dogs: A Pit Bull and a Silky Terrier. She has repeatedly left these dogs out alone at night--in a semi-rural community! They've gone missing before, but have always "turned up" in the morning.

But this time, the Pit Bull returned, lathered and panting--evidently from running. But the Silky was nowhere to be seen. The woman was certain that her "valuable, papered, chipped" Silky had been stolen.

It took all my patience and restraint to suggest that 1. No dog should be left outside unattended at night where coyotes, owls and hawks might be expected to be hunting. 2. A toy dog belongs IN THE HOUSE except for needed, brief potty breaks under human supervision.

I encouraged her to post as many notices as possible and organize search parties. But I did suggest that there was evidence that her little dog had met foul play. I didn't say that the original foul play had been hers.

Example Two: A couple whose work involves constant travel, and who want their home to be spotlessly clean and orderly when they return to it, purchased an English Toy Spaniel from a pet store, in spite of being urged not to do so by a knowledgeable "dog person."

The ETS is now two years old, not reliably house trained, and is destructive of furniture and other household items.

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

A little research would have told them that even under ideal conditions, toy breeds--with the possible exception of Toy Poodles--are slow and difficult to house train. Think about it. These tiny creatures can duck behind a chair, scoot under a table, do the deed--which results in a small product, not immediately detectable--and walk away looking as innocent as the day they were born. And a lot cuter.

Add to that the fact that these breeds were developed for one purpose and one purpose only: human companionship.

What happens when a dog's purpose is totally frustrated?


Now. If this couple had consulted a reputable breeder, they would have been further warned about the breed's characteristics. And if they had purchased from a reputable breeder, there would have been follow-up, and probably a gentle conversation resulting in the return of the poor dog to the breeder. But no such safety net is available for dogs purchased at pet stores.

Will there, can there be a happy ending for this little dog? I don't know. In my opinion, the only hope is for a rescue intervention. But, these are tough times for rescues of breeds with grooming requirements. (Yes. Brody STILL needs a forever home.) And there is always a question of even very unhappy, frustrated owners giving custody of a dog to a rescue when they have paid a thousand or more dollars for a dog.

Hint: You do NOT save money buying a dog from a pet store.

All paws are crossed.

Example Three: While on a quick trip to the vet's, I overheard a conversation between a man who had brought in his dog for treatment and the long-suffering receptionist who was responsible for receiving payment for said treatment.

One clue that he was not the most educated of dog owners was that he referred to his dog as an English Bull Dog. There are French Bull Dogs. But the breed commonly called English Bull Dog is actually named Bull Dog. If I had paid the going rate for a Bull Dog, I would be sure to call it by its proper name. But, perhaps, I'm being a little picky.

If the man had done research on Bull Dogs before acquiring one, he would have been forewarned that the breed is subject to physical problems requiring veterinary attention. I am sentimentally attracted to Bull Dogs, and if others in my family had shared my attraction, a Bull Dog might very well have become our family dog. But I know for a fact that it does not take much "due diligence" to discover that Bull Dogs can be costly to maintain in good health.

If I had been quoted the amount that the man was disputing, I would have been relieved. I felt sorry for the receptionist who was having to politely insist that the very reasonable charges did have to be paid.

Hint: If you are unwilling to sacrifice to maintain your dog in good health, you shouldn't get a dog. Before you acquire a pure bred dog, do adequate research. The AKC has a wonderful website with all sorts of resources and contacts for prospective dog owners. The internet is chuck full of breed-specific information.

There is an abundance of research confirming that having a dog in your life will make you healthier and happier. Your dog is totally dependent on you for all of its needs. If you can't or won't be a responsible dog guardian, Don't Get A Dog!

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