No Connection? Work On It!
In 1978, Eleanor Perry wrote a moving epitaph for her dog Lulu. I thought it was so poignant that I used it for a Dog Blog called Hail And Farewell. When I read the epitaph, I thought, “Wasn’t Eleanor Perry the same person the authors had previously said rehomed a dog because she apparently couldn’t form a relationship with her?”
Turning Your Back On Your Dog Is A Selfish Act
I checked and, sure enough, it was. Perry stated, "We tried to live together for a while but eventually I had to find the dog a new home. There was only one Lulu. No other pet could take her place." (Quotation from the book Pet Loss by Herbert A Nieburg and Arlene Fischer.)
Now clearly there there’s only one Lulu. No one is exactly like anyone else, and no one can take another’s place. But both of those facts are no reason to turn your back on another being - especially one who is dependent on you, like a dog. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a horribly selfish thing to do.
From Home To Home
So many dogs are shunted from one place to another, and most people don’t think twice about it. After all, there’s nothing illegal about rehoming a dog or even dumping him at a shelter.
Dogs are our property by law, and can be sold, given away, or traded at a whim. For example, a shelter worker once told me that a dog was dumped there because apparently “she doesn’t match the furniture”. It’s barely believable, right? But that kind of superficial 'thinking' (if you could really call it thinking) leads to dogs being dumped all the time.
I admit, it’s a little different when someone takes the trouble to find a home for the dog. Some people even take the trouble to find a good home for the dog. But even though this is a little better, it's still unacceptable to me. Unless a person is very ill and unable to look after themselves (let alone their dog), there is no acceptable reason to rehome a dog - no matter how good the subsequent home is.
“We didn’t have time for her”, “He pulled on the lead”, “She shed all over the furniture”, blah blah blah. I don’t find any such excuses acceptable. I say: find the time. I say: train the dog to walk nicely on the lead. I say: keep the dog’s fur clipped and buy throws for the furniture.
I’m certain that most people would think my views extreme, but that's only because of speciesism. To most people, they're “just dogs” so abandoning them is no a big deal. Dogs are adaptable, yes, and most will quite readily adjust to a new home - but that’s no reason to dump them at the drop of a hat.
What If We Were Talking About A Child?
Before you dismiss my views as over-the-top, imagine if similar things were said of another dependent: a human child.
Imagine, for example, that you heard people say: “We didn’t have time to care for her”, “She didn’t behave when we went out”, and “She made such a mess”. Any parent who abandoned their child spouting such nonsense would be reviled by all, because most people think it’s appalling when children are thrust from home to home.
Yet no such revulsion or disgust is shown when the same thing happens to dogs. Quite the contrary - it's wholeheartedly accepted by almost everyone.
The Lamest Excuse
Of all the lame excuses people make to turn their back on their dog, the “we didn’t connect” excuse is the lamest one of all, and I wish Eleanor Perry were around for me to tell her that.
In conclusion, I’ll say two things. One: do your research so that you adopt the right kind of dog for your lifestyle, personality, and fitness level. Two: once you bring a dog into your home, you’ve made a commitment, so be responsible and make it work.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.