Editorial July 1998 Issue

YOUR Whole Dog Journal

Tell us what you want to know; we’ll get you the story.

Planning each issue of WDJ is a collaborative process. All month long I talk to my publisher, writers, and most importantly, dog lovers. I ask everyone I talk to, “What would you like to read about?” I get all kinds of answers, and I take all kinds of notes. There is so much to cover!

Some articles are about things we HAVE to deal with – the big issues in holistic dog care. These topics are often controversial, and always difficult to discuss in just a few pages, because there is so much to these issues, and so many opinions about the material. These are topics that we will revisit again and again.

A good example is this month’s article about vaccination, written by San Francisco writer Roger Govier. Just about every holistic veterinarian will tell you that over-vaccination is responsible for any number of canine ills: the prevalence of autoimmune system failures, cancer, allergies, and even behavior problems. And nearly every conventional veterinarian will tell you that if he doesn’t vaccinate your dog every year, you can just about kiss your dog goodbye, because he’s sure to catch some awful disease without the shot. And there you are, with a dog you love, stuck in the middle.

Our aim is NOT to tell you what to do with your dog; only you can decide what is best. But we will give you as much information as we can from the entire spectrum of canine care: from the most conservative veterinary protocol to the most radical healing alternative. Then you can make an informed choice, based on what fits you and your dog’s needs.

There are other subjects, however, that we feel we have to make a stand on. We’ll try to alert you when we have definite leanings on a subject, and if you disagree, give you the opportunity to try to win us over to your view; fair’s fair. In every case where we do take a stand, you can count on one thing: Our position is pro-dog.

Foremost among the subjects upon which we will always take a particular stand is the issue of cruelty. We don’t and won’t condone cruelty against dogs or other animals in these pages. There is and will always be disagreement in the dog training community about what constitutes cruelty and what amount of cruelty is an acceptable means to the noble end of dog training. And everyone, of course, has the right to their opinions. But we are, flat out, biased toward nonviolent dog training.

Our bias was showing in an article called, “Choosing the Right Trainer,” published in our May 1998 issue. It was written by Pat Miller, who worked for the Marin (CA) Humane Society for 20 years before moving to Salinas, California, where she now works as a writer, a dog trainer, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Cruz SPCA. She has been on the front lines of the dog training and care war for many years, and developed strong opinions about what’s right and best for most dogs. It happens that we agree with most of them, and so you’ll see her name quite a bit in our pages.

Not everyone will agree with our opinions, and when this is the case, we’ll be happy to hear your side of the story. If you disagree with us, let us know – we’d be happy to air positive and fair discussions on any subject. In fact, there’s a good letter from a reader in this issue, responding to the article mentioned above.

Sometimes, we joust amongst ourselves. I wrangled with publisher Timothy Cole over the article about dog shampoos that ran in the June issue; even though it was a good article, I wasn’t sure that the subject was of enough interest to make it worth our (and your) while. But the first three calls I got from you after it came out were about the shampoo article! Clearly, I’d misjudged the need for news about suds . . .

Here’s the point: We’re here for you. Let us know what you’d like to know more about, and we’ll get a well-researched and easy to understand article on the subject to you as soon as we can – whether it’s about subjects as soft as soap or as tough as training.

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