Every so often, a little flame war will erupt in Whole Dog Journal’s Letters to the Editor, comment section on the Whole Dog Journal website, or Whole Dog Journal’s Facebook page. People will get mad. Other people will try to humor (or correct!) the angry ones. Some subscribers will cancel their subscriptions; others will pledge their support in the face of these tribulations and buy subscriptions for their friends.
I try to remain calm. The strong expression of every opinion seem to be a symptom that our feverish country is running these days, whether the topic is politics or dogs.
And the fact is, I appreciate the passion that our readers feel for dogs; I’m glad they care enough to get upset. You certainly can’t say that for many dog owners – like the ones who allow their dogs to breed indiscriminately, who think it’s stupid to buy anything but the cheapest dog food at Wal-Mart, and who wait a week before looking for their lost dog at their local shelter. In my impoverished, rural corner of this great state of California, I’m surrounded by many of these apathetic dog owners. It makes me appreciate the caring, concerned owners I know – and it makes me really appreciate those of you who are devoted enough to your dogs to seek out educational resources like WDJ. Thank you for your commitment to your canine companions.
Yes, I’m even thanking you, the person who wrote a contentious note (or post or email) about something in WDJ (or on our Facebook page) that rubbed you the wrong way. I respect your opinion.
I have a favor to ask, however: Let’s all be respectful of each other when expressing our opinions. The fact is, there is always more than one way to achieve anything. And what works for one person or dog might not work for the next. Conversely, what might send my dog running away from you in fear (say, a hearty two-handed chest thumping) might just get your dog psyched and ready to run an agility course.
We do express opinions here at WDJ; we get to take a stand on topics like the use of physical or emotional punishment (we’re against it); the inclusion of certain synthetic vitamin K supplements in dog food (we haven’t yet seen any compelling evidence to worry about it); or the practice of conducting titer tests in lieu of automatic revaccination (we’re strongly for this). We try to support our views with substantive evidence and input from experts we respect.
But are we always right, for you and your dog? We couldn’t possibly be. Nor could you be right about every other dog. We’d be interested in hearing your view, anyway.
So let’s refrain from insults or knee-jerk judgments, and politely consider each other’s opinions – keeping our dogs’ well-being foremost in our considerations.