A few months ago, I was reminded of a statement my parents used to repeat to me and my siblings when they saw us struggling with a moral or ethical challenge. They would decline to give their teenaged daughters and son any specific recommendations for a particular course of action, but would encourage us to think things over and then commit ourselves to whatever we thought was best. One of their favorite adages was, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
This aphorism was applied to many situations, and its intent was subtly interpreted to mean slightly different things. One recurrent message was, “Don’t just go along with your friends, do your own thinking.” Another was, “Don’t be lazy and just repeat whatever you have heard or read!” Also, my folks had activist leanings – we were brought along to more than one march for this or that cause – and they encouraged us to fully commit ourselves to whatever causes we felt strongly about.
I guess it’s kismet that I fell into working for Belvoir Media, publisher of Whole Dog Journal. All of the company’s publications – journals about aviation, sailing, skiing, health, horses, etc. – look over products and issues in their niche and take a position. We are free to do so by virtue of the fact that all of our publications are supported by subscriptions; we don’t have to temper our observations to pacify our advertisers because we don’t sell ads! This consumer-oriented publishing company is a great place to carry out my parents’ counsel.
So what does Whole Dog Journal “stand for”? Simply put, we’re all about raising, maintaining, and happily living with healthy, happy dogs. Of course, any dog magazine can make that claim – but most other publications don’t talk about topics that fly in the face of conventional veterinary medicine or traditional dog training practices. We take into account the fact that there is much more to health than being free of disease, and that there is more to a pleasurable relationship with your dog than his instant obedience. We’re not only about results, but also about the process.
Our mission is to provide dog guardians with in-depth information on effective holistic health care methods and successful nonviolent training. The methods we discuss will endeavor to do no harm to dogs; we do not advocate perpetrating even minor transgressions in the name of “greater good.” We intend our articles to enable readers to immediately apply training and health care techniques to their own dogs with visible and enjoyable success. All topics should contribute to improving the dog’s health and vitality, and deepening the canine/human bond. Above all, we wish to contribute information that will enable consumers to make kind, healthy, and informed decisions about caring for their own dogs.
Well there’s our “mission statement.” I’ve been meaning to formalize and publish one for ages. I’ll find a spot for it in the magazine somewhere and let it stay there, both as a reminder for longtime subscribers and to let new readers know what we’re all about.
I’ve also been meaning to update the picture that appears in this space every month, the one of me and my faithful friend, Rupert. Neither one of us looks much like we did in our old photo, which was taken for the very first issue of WDJ four years ago. I’d like to extend my thanks to the thousands of dog guardians who have responded to WDJ’s ethos and have supported the magazine this long, and look forward to helping them help their dogs for a long time to come.