Monday, April 06, 2015
Your Cool Dog
N.B. Service dogs and working farm dogs are exempt from indictment.
Let's talk about your cool dog-- or maybe your kid's cool dog, which basically means you are responsible for the well-being of the dog anyway regardless of whatever you told the kid-- and what your cool dog is doing around the neighborhood.
Your first mistake was giving in to your whining kid who begged you for a dog and swore up and down that he or she would take total care of the dog. In abnegation of your responsibility as a parent, the cool dog quickly found itself living a life banished from human companionship. Maybe you tied it to a rope or chain in the backyard, with or without a dog house or shelter from the weather. Maybe you confined it to a fenced-in kennel instead. Or maybe you allow the dog inside the house but you dump it down the cellar whenever having an untrained dog is too inconvenient for you. Yeah, if you don't really know how to take care of a dog, you should have gotten the brat an ant colony or a bowl with a singular goldfish in it instead.
If this sounds like you at all, your second mistake is in not finding a better home for your dog. It may be a good experience for your kid to scream a bit while you send the dog to someone who knows what to do for it. Your kid really is too big to throw that sort of temper tantrum. And your household environment will not get anymore peaceful once the brat reaches adolescence.
Or maybe you believe that dogs should "run free" outside along with your cats. So every morning, you let the beast outside. And she comes back to you preggers again. Maybe that's why you named her "Sooner." Because sooner or later, she will turn up pregnant. More puppies for the gas chamber.
Or maybe the dog is an intact male. In which case a ton of newborn puppies in the neighborhood all resemble him in some fundamental way.
Or maybe your dog is part of a pack of dogs in your town. Take the ranging distance from home of each individual dog [say a beagle might be willing to roam ten miles, the husky mix fifteen, the collie two...] and multiply them all together. Suddenly your dog and his or her best dog buddies get to be a nuisance farther and farther away from home.
Your dog pees and poops wherever it wants to. Both a dog's pee and a dog's poop are highly acidic. They make burn spots and neither one act as fertilizer in the neighborhood gardens. Your dog may also roam around the school yard and park. Anyone who is not staring at the grass when they walk around public spaces risks tracking your dog's manure around. Oh, you can't be bothered to actually provide some companionship to your dog by taking it for walks [little Johnnie and Janie promised they would do that]. You won't pay for basic obedience lessons, even if you could be bothered to take the dog and the children with you once a week.
Your dog is "happy" being a natural, intact dog who roams around freely outdoors and therefore doesn't need you to exercise it. Your dog hates the leash and it's "wrong" to require your dog [or your kids for that matter] to do anything that it [or they the kids] don't want to do. You pet your dog a couple times a day and provide it bones and table scraps. What more could your dog want?
Your dog wants to understand your expectations. That means training so you have a common "language" to communicate with. Your dog wants to exercise with you. Your dog wants to know what your rules and boundaries are. Your dog wants a job. Most dogs want some sort of job, even if it's to "keep the squirrels away from the bird feeders." Your dog wants to go places with you. Your dog wants regular meals at set hours. Your dog deserves proper dog food, fresh water, exercise, trips to the vet for vaccinations etc, freedom from the worms that will be picked up via raiding garbage cans or sniffing the poop of its infected dog friends, and freedom from becoming roadkill because you could not be bothered to do what is right for your dog.
If someone steals your dog-- thinking perhaps it is a stray-- maybe your dog will wind up in better circumstances. Maybe not but we can hope. And as Junior screams his head off past midnight, please don't promise to get him another dog.
Your dog really could have a cool dog. You could have investigated dogs in general and how to give a dog the best home possible. You could have taught little miss Brattikins how to take care of a dog. Your dog could have enjoyed being an excellent citizen. But instead your dog ran off or was stolen, got killed off in the woods or smashed by a car, caught worms or rabies or who knows what, was found dead in your yard tied to his dog house. If you don't really like dogs, then don't get a dog. Tell your kid that he or she can get their own dog when they are out of the house. Because at least then, you have successfully said "no" to your kid once.
sapphoq n friends say: On the other hand, you may really have a cool dog. In that case, the above rant does not apply to you. You carefully thought over your commitment to a dog. You learned or already had experience with what constitutes proper care of a dog. Your kids are fairly well-behaved so you won't have to rescue your dog from their abuse. You as a family do things together and take the dog with you. You've attended dog shows or volunteered at the shelter or watched Cesar Millan on television. You took your dog to obedience and made the kids go with you. Your dog has all of its shots and a regular vet. You exercise your dog daily. You have rules and boundaries in your household-- and both your dog and your kids obey them. Your life is not one chaotic mess that you wish to share with a dog. Yeah, there are some cool dog owners around. My dog and I celebrate each and every one of you.