To Dog or not to Dog
This blog post comes to you through love but man do I get annoyed by this...
I read a meme an old friend posted the other day. It said, "Your dog shares a short amount of time with you, but you are every day of their entire life."
And yet, I constantly see people out with their dogs and all they are doing is yanking their leases, pulling them along like it's a chore to walk them. They are yelling at them "NO!" and yanking them. They reprimand them for barking and YELL "NO!" so loud that I can hear them, as I am walking on the street while they are in their homes, with the windows closed.
I'd like to place a vision in your mind for a moment...
YOU are adopted by a family.
Every time you go to say ANYTHING they yell at you "NO!" Every time you try to warn them of an intruder, they reprimand you. Every time you try to say good morning, sing, or tell them you love them you are hollered at.
Can you imagine living your entire short life like that?
I saw a lady yesterday, in the morning, in her back yard chasing her dog because it barked because we were walking by. The dog was so terrified because she sounded angry, even to me, that it would not allow her to catch it to clip its collar to bring it inside.
#1 it probably had not yet done its “business” and no doubt would have gotten in more trouble later for doing it in the house because she forced it in, because it's not allowed to warn her of intruders.
#2 she was screaming at the dog to shut up and chasing it... would you run to a person who was yelling at you and trying to catch you at the same time? I think not!
Yes, I said something to the effect “If you stopped sounding mad at her, she would probably come to you.”
A few weeks ago, Norman and I were walking by a fenced yard. There was a doodle within the back yard. The dog was jumping in excitement to see us coming and suddenly it YELPED at the top of his lungs and jumped 3 feet back. SHOCK COLARS ARE NOT OKAY! Poor fella. That upset me for days. I altered my route because I did not want him to get shocked because he barked.
He is doing his job. He is telling his family that there are people approaching. He is showing his love and loyalty towards his family by letting them know that there are intruders approaching and they in turn are punishing him for it.
I'm not sure why people who want dogs to act like humans get dogs?
Let's talk about breeds first... ALL dogs' bark... mostly. But there are ones that bark less or more. Pugs for instance... bark ALL THE TIME! They also SHED a lot!
This is our baby... The Butcher. He never stopped barking and it made us laugh so many times. I remember a time we put up posters in our front windows for Halloween, of life-sized zombies... LOL... this made him bark incessantly, warning us that the intruders were coming! He's a good boy!
Some dogs are silent but herders and want the entire family to be together and kept safe. They will bark to get your attention and be insistent that you join the pack. Say, for instance, you are reading quietly in another room, but the rest of the family is in the living room watching tv. These breeds will go out of their minds barking to get you to join the pack. Try breeds like Border Collies and Aussie Shepherds to name just two. They are extremely intelligent. They need to work and must be learning all the time, or they will go nuts. I mean this. They are ON all the time. DO NOT BUY a dog just because you think it is cute. THEY HAVE PERSONALITY. Just like us, much of it CAN NOT BE CHANGED
This is my girl Rain! She was ready to herd and guard until her very last day. She never stopped protecting me. She warned me against intruders, and she warned me to cross the street when there was a bad person there. She was a good girl and I miss her dearly. She had a hard life, in the middle because my life was not going well. But in the beginning, it was great, and, in the end, it was great too. We never gave up on each other... not ever. I still wish to this day that I did better by her, but I did my best. She was my only “girl” pet and was truly a gift.
In the middle of my life, we lived in a bachelorette apartment. Just one big room. I worked two jobs and was out way too late trying to find myself. She ripped up everything I owned... comforters, beds, underwear... you name it. I had no money to replace things. I yelled too many times. I cried too. And every time I cried, guess who was there for me... my girl. I finally got my shit together and kept my promise to get her back to the country, which is where we started together. We lived in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, where she had all the room to roam, and we played and trained together every day. Then I was forced to move back to the city where we had no room and barely any money.
She was my first dog after my childhood dog that we did not have for long. I got her because she had eyes like Bowie and knew nothing about the breed. Had I known. I would never, NEVER have gotten her. She was a Border Collie mix, and she was way more than I could handle. BUT... in the end, she went back to the farm with my mother-in-law, and we visited every weekend. At the very end I was the one who lay on the deck and held her in my arms while they put her to sleep. WE (Mr. Rees and I) did the last walk together, the last game of ball... I still cry for her and us to this day.
After Rain, I made a vow to research the breed. Mr. Rees and I have always done this and understand that you cannot change a breed. YOU cannot make a dog be something different than what it is. You can train it to a certain extent but if you buy a hunting dog breed and don't play fetch games with it often... it will go stir crazy. If you buy a "Smart Breed" and don't teach it games and take it to new places to learn new things, it will go nuts. If you get a greyhound and never let it run... it will lose its mind.
This is our boy Jonesy. An Italian Greyhound. When we researched this breed, it said that they were SERIOUS about their sleep. As it turns out, if it was time for the Jing to go to sleep, he would cry and cry until you went to bed with him. He would force me to settle and grab a blanket and put it over me on the couch (summer or winter it did not matter) so that WE could sleep together. 9pm... that was his time. He was a good boy. He slowed me down and cuddled my heart every single day. He smelled of honey and vanilla and ... he stole my heart.
Norman is our beautiful Greyhound, in full size. He too is serious about his sleep and will often put himself to bed if we carry on too late. As all my clients know... he sleeps most of the day. He also MUST have room and time to run. Short bursts are all he needs and then back to rest but he needs that time. He learned to play but it's not high on his list, however, catching and chasing a ball are! It's in his blood.
Rescuing a dog, although it seems like a great heartfelt idea... also needs to be researched. It is not an easy task. You must understand that this dog that you take into your heart is not a puppy... it already has scars and a history, and it takes a long time for trust to be earned. So, please don't get a rescue if you don't have it in you. You can't expect a rescue to be new and be unscared and have that history. You need to understand that they have some kind of heartache when they arrive at you. Either abused or abandoned... there will be a wound that needs to be tended to gently.
It's okay not to rescue and to opt to get a new puppy that has no history. But if that is your choice... remember that YOU control that history yourself. YOU are responsible for creating a world that is filled with joy for your BEST FRIEND!
Walking with your friend daily is a privilege. That time you spend together will not last long... it may be 5 years (Bernese Mountain Dog) to 14 years (most breeds). Larger breeds have shorter lives than smaller breeds. Your time together will be short. You have the opportunity to FILL your days with joy, play, laughter, love. You hold the cards.
Your dog will never outgrow his breed. She may be trained but the main traits of the breed will remain, and it is not fair to take a dog into your life that does not suit your life expecting it to change to suit you. YOU should be researching and getting a dog that will suit your lifestyle. You will both be much happier if this is what you do.
So many people got dogs during the pandemic and then when it was over, they just gave them up to the humane society to deal with. I can't even go into this because it makes me so upset. These are not toys... they are not things to play with and then toss away. DOGS have hearts, souls, they love, and they cry.
Please think long and hard before you make a decision to adopt a dog. It is a potential 14 yearlong commitment. A GIFT that you should CHOOSE. You don't give up on your dog because your life changes. I never gave up on Rain! NEVER. She never gave up on me! We kept our promise to each other... as I have done, with my MATCH, with all of our babies.
Norman will be our last doggie for a long while. We committed to him for the rest of his life no matter how long it is, knowing that this meant we could not travel far, not for a long time. Norman comes with a history. He cannot be just left at a shelter while we galivant all over the world. NORMAN IS MY LIFE! Making him smile is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to US! Together, my MATCH and I make sure that he is happy and loved and feels safe. He has, over the past 4 years, LEARNED to trust and love us and he is still growing in this regard every single day.
When we got him, he was hurt, angry and abused. His heart was not trusting. He growled and snapped and peed and did all the things that dogs get YELLED at for. He was not yelled at. He was told when things were not right for him to do, so that he would stay safe and adjust to a life of love. Instead of yelling when he did it wrong, he was rewarded when he got it right. It took time... patience... love. Now he gets lonely. He misses us. Now he knows we will come back, and he has a babysitter who lets him know he is cared for and loved and he looks forward to seeing them. House Sitting Solutions with Norah and Roy is who we trust to take care of our boy when we are gone away from the house and must leave him.
It has taken us 3 years to be comfortable letting Norman be on his own. We had to work up to it over those years, slowly. Now, after those three years, we can go to a movie or out for dinner or to a wrestling all day event with Norah coming in to spend time with him. It took time. It was a commitment to him. We wanted him to understand that we would come back and that he was not reminded of being abandoned. When you rescue... there are WOUNDS that need CAREFUL TENDING!
So, today I will end here. I want you to understand that dogs are not toys and that breeds have traits, and that barking is their way of talking. KNOW that your time together is a GIFT, and that walking is not a chore... it is, in fact, a time to be treasured.
I hope you are blessed enough to understand that you have a choice to do that right thing. Choose wisely.