For the Love of Dogs
Loving a dog may be different than a human, but it’s certainly not subpar. The beauty in their inability to verbally communicate with us is that instead, we naturally develop an emotional connection on a different level than those who we can share words with.
Dogs are loyal and that in itself is an expression of love. Mix that with all of their other adorable traits and you’ve got unlimited combinations of unique bonds that naturally form between us and them.
On the topic of love, I can’t speak for others but I can easily talk about my own dog. Although he’s not with us anymore, Chief was my Bernese Mountain Dog, an extremely affectionate breed. Almost everything they do revolves around loving you, from purposely sitting or laying directly on your feet, to passing back and forth through your legs, to hugging your leg with their paw and pulling it in tightly when you least expect it. If they’re not close to you, they’re resting somewhere within sight of you, always. Berners are the epitome of real-life lovable teddy bears!
All these captivating characteristics make dogs very desirable and they have become unusually easy to obtain, which isn’t exactly a good thing for their sake on such a large scale. In a world of consumerism, we are becoming more and more aware of what our dollar supports in the purchases we make, although it’s not common practice when it comes to getting a dog, even though they are living beings with makes it even more important to be aware. Each way of obtaining a dog supports very different industries. Understanding what you’re supporting can help make decisions that are in their best interest as a whole.
Dogs are easy to breed so there are all kinds of breeders out there, but let’s start with responsible breeders. The word responsible sets them apart from other types by having one very important standard in place - an agreement that the dog must be returned if they can’t be kept. They will also have other important standards, like carefully screening adoptive homes to minimize the use of the return policy, not breeding frequently or as a means of income, health testing to avoid genetic issues, and a spay and neuter agreement. Responsible breeders create a lifelong connection with the adoptive homes and would never sell a puppy through a pet store or other means without that connection. They always prioritize the best intentions leading to happy healthy dogs and avoid the risk of them ending up in shelters, rescues or being posted on the internet. Without these standards in place, the result in breeding dogs is vastly different. In fact, it creates an industry that is the exact opposite which contributes to many of the problems we face around pet overpopulation, among other issues.
Shelters and rescues operate on a different level but even some of them practice similar standards as the results are much more in favour of betterment for the dogs. Whether it’s through a breeder or not, giving away a dog or obtaining one without that connection yields much higher risks of consequences and ultimately, it’s the dogs who are the most impacted.
We each play a very important role in that outcome from the moment we start looking at ways of getting a dog. When you start considering a breeder vs a shelter or rescue vs someone posting their puppies or dogs online, know what you are supporting and make a responsible decision. Look for those standards and those connections. Do it, for the love of dogs.