What do you write about after sharing a post dedicated to the dog you miss so very much? Honestly, I tried to sit down and string a few words together, but it simply did not work…
Then, a few days ago I came across a survey done by Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance. According to the findings over 50 per cent of Southern dog (and cat) parents did not research the breed of their puppy before getting one, and only 21 per cent spent more than a week (a week, seriously?!) to find “the right breed for their lifestyle”. Worse, every sixth pet parent had regrets of getting a dog of that specific breed.
Think how many dogs you would normally meet during a walk with your pooch? Now imagine that every sixth dog is actually a burden to the person who walks him at that very moment – and try not bleed inside your heart.
For me, my dogs are my life. And I admit, I am, by my own admission, really is all about my dogs. I live and breathe for the happiness of my boys and feel terrible if I believe they didn’t have a good enough day (by my standards). I am not perfect at all, but I do everything I can – and a little bit more. No matter what.
As somebody who spent years researching dog breeds, reading books and attending courses to learn about taking care of a puppy, I simply cannot fathom how it is even possible to decide that one is ready for a dog and knows enough about a dog after a week of “research”… And then proceed by getting a puppy – not a fluffy toy, but an actual living being who needs his human mum to help him live, learn and thrive!
I’ve seen those people. I did. And I helped a few, too. Not because I cared much for them, but because I cared too much for the little pup who ended up in a household that was totally unprepared for him or her.
Do you ever wonder why we still have the heartbreaking reality of puppy farms? This is a good example how and why these disgusting businesses flourish. Every day they offer pups to these “owners” (because I cannot even refer to these people as “parents”) who visit them to get a dog without knowing much simply because they felt like having a puppy here and now, or choose to buy a puppy in a pet shop while stoping for coffee!
These are the people who end up with a dog suffering from illnesses or psychological problems. These are the people who had every chance of giving that puppy a wonderful life, but instead give him up as an unwanted regret.
I tried to stay “cool and content” and find reasons to justify these people’s actions. I went online looking for opinions on forums and social media looking for solid reasons of regret… The truth was painful to learn:
“I didn’t realise dogs are such a hard work…”
“I am so annoyed because I cannot travel now like I used to…”
“He is such an inconvenience…”
“He chewed my furniture and went to pee all over the house…”
“He pulls the lead so hard, I can’t walk him, so I decided to rheum…”
“Having a dog is so expensive!”
“I only realised this breed wasn’t for me after I got a puppy…”
“I live in a cream house but this dog makes it dirty and leaves hair everywhere…”
“I can’t sleep at night because he keeps crying in the other room…”
“I feel stuck with him for years now…”
There were very, very few exceptions who had regrets because they were seriously ill, injured or suffered from severe allergy. Ironically, this group of people actually did their very best to try and keep the dog no matter what.
How can I possibly stay indifferent to this situation if it shows that the nation of dog lovers is clearly lacking the three fundamental pillars of dog parenthood: knowledge, commitment and responsibility? And worse, do very little to improve on any of these?
You may notice I did not mention love… I believe it’s important but love is nothing if it does not inspire you to become a better person, a better pup parent – and learn, learn everything you can before and during your life with one of the most wonderful beings we ever managed to tame… yet forgot the obvious “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed…” from the Little Prince. But then how many of those people would even read Exupéry?
And since this wonderful author also said that “a goal without a plan is just a wish”, here are a few things everyone who dreams of having a cocker spaniel puppy should read as the essential minimum before they even launch their search for the dream dog… As the very first step to make sure that every dog is wanted… now – and forever, for the rest of his life and beyond.