How do you convince people to be patient and selective and wait for a dog who meets their criteria, instead of rushing in and adopting the first cute face in the shelter they see? Despite the fact that you’ve promised to find them the perfect dog, one that meets their every wish in a dog, if they would only give you a bit of time, the next thing you hear is…
I’m dog-sitting Chaco, the last little foster dog I found a home for. I got a call from her new owner the other morning. “Of course!” I replied, “What’s up?” Her voice broke as she answered, “My house burned down yesterday!”
About a year ago, I became acutely aware of the fact that there are increasing numbers of animal “rescue” organizations that are doing anything but “rescuing” animals. I’m not talking about real rescue operations, where animals are well cared-for, the facility does not take on more animals than it can support in a healthy fashion, and the organization has a well-established and successful method of finding permanent homes for its charges.
I was casually reading an online article this morning from BayAreaParent, thinking “Yeah, yeah, yeah, another sad failed dog adoption story.” You know, newlywed couple buys Labrador Retriever puppy, gets pregnant, doesn’t train the dog, dog is out of control, gets banished to the back yard when the baby comes, dog is miserable, owner gets pregnant again, blah, blah, blah…”
On TV, Westminster always looks so glamorous and plush. My impression of the bench areas, however, was that of a nightmare for the dogs. Space is at a premium; the dogs are squished into tight spaces, and the aisles are PACKED with humans.
Write a valentine to your dog? Why wouldn’t you? C’mon, join in. Don’t take more than five minutes, just write a quick bit of doggerel for your favorite dog. Mine are for Otto, of course!
I’ll bet that in the past 10 years, every Super Bowl broadcast has been spiked with television ads with dogs in them. Why dogs are such reliable pitchmen for beer, cars, and snack foods, I’ll never know.
I came home on Sunday evening and played the messages on my answering machine. I instantly recognized my sister’s voice. She was sobbing. Though I could barely understand her words, I knew what had caused her such pain.
The sun finally came out in my part of California, on the northeast edge of the great Sacramento Valley. I had a number of invitations from friends hit the trails and I accepted almost all of them. As a result, I’m stiff and muscle-sore and my dog, Otto, is sleeping like a log.
This has been a rough month or so for my dog-loving friends. Dempsey the Boxer lost his fight with cancer just before Christmas. His owner summoned a veterinarian to put him out of his pain, but said that there was barely a flicker of life left in him by the time the vet arrived.
Whole Dog Journal Training Editor Pat Miller wrote an article for the January issue about why and how to teach your dog his or her name (“Say My Name”). She mentioned in the article how important it was to pick a good name for your dog, and shared the story of how she and her husband named a few of their dogs.
I don’t know anyone who is a perfect dog owner. I know people who do an amazing job with their dogs from a training and behavior perspective – and who feed their dogs really crummy dog food. And conversely, I have friends who spend a fortune on top-quality food for their dogs – that is, their terribly under-socialized, untrained dogs. It seems like we all have an Achilles heel when it comes to managing our dogs’ emotional, intellectual, and physical health (or our own, for that matter! But that’s another story.).