Thursday, August 02, 2012

Think before you Leap!

For months now, every time I get on Facebook, someone is posting a picture of a poor, abused, or neglected dog that needs to be rescued before it is put down.  These pictures tear at my heart, but they also piss me off.  If you are not willing or able to do what is right for the dog, don't do it.
We recently rescued Poppy, a chihuahua, when she was found running loose on the streets.  She seemed very even tempered and we brought her home to live with 2 old ladies with health problems and 3 cats.  One of our cats, Nakoma, is 19 years old and knows she is queen of this castle.  Mango is about 10 now and is a  more timid and does not push the boundaries set by the other cats.  Annie, on the other hand, is a white tornado.  She is about 8 or 9 and is in constant motion.  She is the adventurous one here.  Cats are very independent, but they can be trained to stay off the kitchen counters, which is about my only limitation on where I'm willing to let the cats go.  As long as they have food and a clean litter box, get some attention, they are happy.  If someone comes to the house, they usually disappear, under or on a bed.  If the visitor is here for a while, they may come out to say hello.
A dog is a whole different animal.  We have been doing a lot of reading on dogs recently, and every article and book we have read says you must commit to walking your dog every day.  Every day!  Not just when it suits you, but every day.  This walking gives them the exercise they need and bonds them to you and your family.  It is what they do naturally and for them to be happy, they need to walk.  Most behavior problems are because dogs don't get enough walking.
We got the book, Cesar's Way, and have read it from cover to cover.  This book opened our eyes as to what a dog is, what it needs, and what we are not giving the dog: exercise, discipline and affection in that order.  Most of us give too much affection at the wrong times and create our own little hell on earth.
Please, to anyone who is considering adopting or rescuing a dog, do your research first.  Know yourself.  Are you committed to be the best dog parent you can? Have you researched the breed you are considering?  Dogs are dogs, but each breed has different needs and temperaments, health issues and life expectancy.  Are you young enough to outlive your dog?  Do you have a back-up plan if you don't?
My plea here is, do the research before you bring the dog home.  Know what you are getting into.  Dogs are not self-sufficient, like cats, and you must be committed.

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