Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pet Adoptions

I didn't think I was a dog person but now that we have two of them... I AM a dog person after all. I am amazed at how much I enjoy these two goofy creatures who are sharing our home with us. We never had dogs before because our lifestyle as a young married couple was more suited to cats. Our last cat, a stray I took in as a kitten before we had kids, died in June at the age of 21. Once he went that made room in our home for a dog. See, I think we humans owe it to companion animals to give as many of them homes as we can.

We made the world they have to live in. We shaped them to what we wanted through selective breeding and made them dependent on us, we took away many of the skills they need to survive on their own, we changed the environment they have to survive in, and now we allow them to over populate and over breed. We tolerate puppy mills and other forms of irresponsible breeding. We don't adopt when we can. We don't spay and neuter when we should. It's a problem we created and the animals suffer for it. The most obvious way we can make a difference is one animal at a time. Adopt from shelters or rescue groups or take in a stray. Have your pets spayed or neutered; do not breed them. Support legislation to prevent puppy mills.

To make even more of a difference, volunteer with a rescue group or shelter. Take in foster animals. Donate to animal causes.

It's our responsibility as part of the human race who created the problem to take part in making life better for the animals who so adore us. Dogs especially are owed a debt. They work for us in countless ways, they pay attention to us, and they bond with us in a way no other animal is capable of. My Queen Bee is a sweetheart of a dog and I can't imagine not having her in my life now. Sure there's some work involved; she continues to have occasional accidents in the house, she can be a pain in the neck on walks, and we have to figure out how to schedule our lives so that we aren't away from home for too long at the time. It's worth it though because she brings love and laughter and devotion. She follows me around from room to room in the house. She gets excited that she might get to go with me whenever I leave. She gets restless and lets me know when it's time to go out on my daily walk. (Which keeps me motivated and healthy!) She plays with the kids. She's amazing and she's giving us so much more than we can ever repay.

So, if you think you aren't a dog person, give it a try. Research the breed you are considering or work with a reputable positive trainer before you select a dog. (A trainer can help you make a good choice for your family.) A mutt from the pound can be the best dog of all, but do choose carefully. Open your heart to strays you encounter. There is a perfect dog for everyone out there, but it can take some time to find it. Once you have your dog, make sure he or she is a good canine citizen. Teach your dog manners. One of the reasons I thought I wasn't a dog person was because I HATE it when dogs jump on me. Hate it, hate it, hate it. That's because it's rude dog behavior and the owners need to teach the dog better. (Which is something we've worked on with The Queen Bee; she's getting there.) Be responsible for messes and scoop the poop. But most of all, love your dog. They'll love you right back.

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