"People with dogs that kill people, kill people", we'd devote this week to sharing about being a responsible dog owner and bite prevention. We're jumping into it a bit later in the week than we'd initially planned - so let's get right to it!
A responsible dog owner is much more than someone who feeds and shelters an animal. A responsible dog owner is someone who has done their homework and chosen to commit their life to a pet owner long before ever acquiring an animal. A responsible dog owner does not get a dog on a whim. A responsible dog owner realizes that depending on the animals age when they bring it home, this is a commitment that could last up to fifteen years or more.
Becoming a responsible owner begins long before you ever bring your pet home.
A responsible dog owner knows about the breed they have chosen before ever beginning their search for the perfect dog. This is a lesson that is personal to mom, as she had to learn it the hard way.
In her early adulthood, mom purchased a pair of huskies - red, Siara and white with bi-eyes, Cool Whip. She knew little more about the dog's breed than that they were quite possibly the most beautiful breed of dog around (second only to Golden's, of course *wink*), and that they served as sled dogs. It took an unplanned pregnancy when the dog literally escaped through a wire crate to learn that huskies are escape artists. And it took the mauling/killing of a litter of foster puppies to realize that huskies have very high prey drives. Ultimately it took one suffering a heat stroke in our Mississippi backyard to learn that huskies do not always acclimate well to our Southern climate. (Yes, the dog was provided water and shelter.) After this series of events, our pawrents realized as much as they loved this beautiful breed, Siberian huskies were not suited for their lifestyle. They were very blessed to be able to place Siara in the home of a lady who had just lost her husky of seventeen years and was well acquainted with all of their mischievous ways. However, because of their naivety, Cool Whip lost his life.
(Before you lose all respect for my mom person, please understand that where she started as a pet owner has brought her to where she is now. And if even one dog's life can be spared because of her honesty, she's willing to lose a bit of respect.)
This brings us back to the "Bully breeds" that was the topic of Saturday's post. It is an ignorant person who chooses one of these dogs without knowing their full capabilities. It is an irresponsible person who allows such a dog to run loose - especially after it has demonstrated their desire to kill. And again, this is not meant against the breed, but the owner. Being responsible for this animal means containing them at all times. If you cannot do that, you should not have one.
The decision to rehome Siara was a hard one for my family as they loved her very much, but to redeem the irresponsibility of owning a dog that they knew little about, it was the right thing to do. Siara is still a much loved member of her second family. Her story had a happy ending, but most similar do not.
Of an average litter of six puppies, only two will go into their furr-ever home straight from the breeder's. Two will be swapped around multiple times during their life. Two will end up in a shelter and depending on the shelter's policy, will possibly be euthanized.
Have you done your homework regarding the breeds you own or are interested in? If so, congratulations! You are well on your way to becoming a responsible dog owner. If not, please educate yourself.. for the dog's sake and your own.
Tomorrow we will focus on ways to be a responsible owner after your dog has come to your home.