Lately, I have been noticing a very strange trend. First, my mom mentioned that she saw a post in one of her facebook groups from a woman who felt guilty because her dogs weren’t involved in dog sports and all the fun things that the other posters said they did with their dogs. The woman stated, “All I do is play ball with my dogs in the back yard.”
I bet her dogs love playing ball, and while I don’t know this woman, if she’s posting about her dogs in a facebook dog group, I’d wager that she probably loves them and takes pretty good care of them.
Then there’s my mom herself. After struggling for about two years with Luke’s dog reactivity she’s ready to throw in the towel, so she tells me, “I guess he’ll just be a house dog.”
Just a house dog? My mom plays with Luke regularly, he has a doggie playmate named Kayla, he has more toys than most dogs see in a lifetime, he’s welcome to sleep in the bed with my parents, he gets fed premium dog food, he is well vetted, he gets to go to quiet dog friendly parks, and my parents drive all the way to Florida for their annual retreat – just so their dogs aren’t left behind.
Recently my friend and fellow dog blogger, Jodi Stone, wrote A POST where she felt that she needed to walk her dogs every day – even if it meant doing so at 6:40 in the morning to beat the heat. 6:40! A.M.! I give her a LOT of credit, because you won’t catch me walking my dogs that early. Ever.
And then I started to feel guilty. Geez? Daily walks? All three of them? They do get two yard sessions a day, one with Nick and one with Me, where one of us is out there with them, either playing with them, training them, or just chilling with them – often a combination of all three. And yeah, I do walk the dogs, and I sometimes even take them to training classes, or on outings to parks, the beach, or dog shows, whatever – but not EVERY DAY. I thought I was a good dog owner…but after I read Jodi’s post, I started to think, “Hey I must be a bad dog owner too.”
So what does constitute a bad dog owner? I always thought a bad dog owner was someone who beats their dog, or ties their dog to a tree with no shelter from the elements, or doesn’t provide food or water to their dog, or keeps them crated 24-7, or lets a treatable health problem go untreated so that the dog is suffering, or, obviously, someone who participates in dog fights.
But others might disagree with me…
What if someone thought you were a bad owner because you didn’t do something that they thought a dog deserved, and they stole your dog because of their own ideals? Maybe they thought all dogs should be fed home cooked, but they saw you buying kibble at the pet store, so they hurried outside, broke into your car, and stole your dog?
Don’t think it could happen?
I recently read a rather appalling POST over at Two Little Cavaliers, about a husky that was stolen right out of his owner’s yard, because someone felt they were neglecting the dog because he was kept in an outdoor kennel and not inside the house. Someone, (most likely the same someone who stole the dog if you ask me), had reported the family to Animal Control several times – but after inspecting them each time, Animal Control always gave them a good report.
According to the post and a subsequent news article I found, the dog, named Aspen, was housed in a well ventilated kennel, with protection from the elements, and was given food and water and attention from the family – but the thieves felt that dogs only “thrive” indoors and stole the husky so they could give him the home “every dog deserves.”
Now, I personally, would not keep my own dogs outdoors, but is this now a crime? People keep cats, goats, chickens, sheep, cows, horses, etc., etc., in outdoor enclosures pretty regularly and nobody blinks, but are you now a bad dog owner if your dog is kept in a kennel with food and water and protection from the elements? I bet their are thousands of huskies up north living in kennels…maybe the thieves should steal them too? Wouldn’t their efforts be better spent on rescuing a dog from death row who is facing the gas chamber, rather than stealing a dog that already has a decent home – even if it is not what “they” consider perfect?
What do YOU consider to be a bad dog owner?