Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Public Attitudes

I found this through another forum, it was originally printed in a Canadian Newspaper, I believe.

My pets have won my heart
Posted 17 days ago
I have always been an animal lover. I remember that when I was small I had a pet pig. This little pig would follow me everywhere and would also sleep in my bed. I know some people think pigs are dirty animals, but mine
wasn't, as he used to bathe in my bath-water when I was finished with it.
One night I climbed into bed and there was a huge spider there. When you are four years old, all spiders look huge. I screamed and jumped out of my bed, and my little pig ate the spider, saving my life.
I shared everything with my pig, even my food, not realizing I was contributing to his being sold for slaughter.
I also had a horse who would let me ride him bareback all over the farm. How I loved my horse, but one day he followed me into the house, and the next day my father sold him.
I cried when my pets were taken away from me and promised myself that when I got older, I would never give up on my pets. They would stay with me forever. I guess that is why I now have six dogs, eight birds and two lizards. I just can't seem to part with any of them for fear of them being abused.
I read with disgust the stories about mutilated cats in a Kingston neighbourhood and the dog that was set on fire on Montreal Street. I cringed when I thought of the last moments of these animals' lives and I pray they didn't know what was about to happen.
I do not understand why anyone would want to abuse an animal. Like children, animals depend on humans to give them love, provide them with the necessities of life and clean up after them. If one cannot or will not do these things, then one shouldn't own a pet.
While there are activities for dogs, such as racing and agility or flyball events, I wonder if they are being entered into such events to give them some play time or so their owners can win a trophy. Many of these animals are kept underweight, confined in kennels and not treated as pets. Unlike humans, they have no voice in what they want to do; no voice to complain if they are hungry or to say they want to be free to run and play. Circus animals face this kind of life, too. That is why I do not support the circus.
I own whippets, which, like greyhounds, are well known for their running ability and their slender form. I know my dogs are an ounce or two overweight - OK, maybe a pound or two - but at least no one can accuse me of starving them. I rescued two of these dogs when they were within days of death from starvation. Their ribs were sticking out, their rump bones were standing high and their faces were sunken. I cried when I saw them, but now when I look at them I see beautiful, healthy dogs that look at me with love in their eyes, as if they are saying "Thank you for saving me." While they may not win a trophy, they have won my heart and a safe home until their last day on Earth.
¦ Kathy Bauder is a self-employed hairstylist, mothe

r of four and grandmother of 10. She is a member of the Whig-Standard's Community Editorial Board.
I've experienced this attitude and perception of performance people and their dogs, pretty much any trial with a lot of spectators and you'll hear comments about the weight of dogs. Could that be because the majority of dogs in this country are obese? I'm asked if I "keep them hungry so they perform better?" No, I don't feed breakfast before they run if little dogs are first, but only because I wouldn't want to run with a belly full of food, why would my dogs?

I don't know any highly successful agility competitors whose dogs sit in kennels all day, doing nothing but agility. Virtually everyone agrees that to be successful you *need* a very strong relationship with your dog and that comes from doing things together. I doubt most "pet dogs" live as full a life as my crew do. They get to run and hike off leash, becuase of their training. They love agility! It's not like you can force a dog to sprint around an agility course off leash!

1 comment:

Margie said...

amen to that! Any one who thinks that I force my dogs to do agility and make them train, should see them in the backyard playing on the equipment for the shear joy of playing. :-)