Friday, May 4, 2012

Dogs Are NOT Interchangeable

After reading the wonderful Dog's Will that is the subject of the last post, I took time to click around the Aussie Rescue of Southern California site. What I read and saw broke my heart. I have never had an Aussie or any other Herding breed, for that matter, as my own companion. I do have a dear friend who is an Aussie Person, so I have had some exposure to Aussies. And, of course, I read about dogs and dog breeds because I think dogs are God's very specific gift to human beings. And like all of God's gifts, they are not just for our enjoyment; they are also for the growth of our character and moral development and discernment. Whenever The Smartest Breed is being discussed or argued, three breeds are included in the mix: Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and German Shepherd Dogs. Notice any common denominator among these breeds? They all belong to the Herding Group. They have been selectively bred over generations for their ability to perceive and follow sometimes very subtle signals from humans. Their ability to learn new behaviors can be stunning. (Particularly to those of us who adore and share our lives with sight hounds, who are the canine equivalent of legacy college admissions.) But all that canine intelligence puts extraordinary demands on humans. A bored Aussie, Border Collie, or German Shepherd is a destructive force that can also be quite stunning. People who take one of these breeds into their homes need to be willing to spend the rest of the dog's life training and keeping the dog occupied and busy. The number of Aussies--particularly older Aussies--in shelters and rescues is testimony to the ignorance and callousness of many people who acquire one of these Top of the Class canines without researching the breed or ignoring the research they do. Aussies are gorgeous dogs and the idea of having an intelligent breed appeals to some people's ego. But it takes a particular type of person to provide a safe and happy life for one of these dogs. If you think you might have what it takes, please visit Read all the caveats and search your soul. If you still want an Aussie, you won't want for choice. There are many, many Australian Shepherds in need of homes.

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