“Let sleeping dogs lie – who wants to rouse ’em?” Charles Dickens, English, 1812-1870
I hope this post’s title drew my regular dog-loving readers in and in this case, those who are not necessarily big fans of our Companion Animals. Why you ask? Well, the answer is pretty direct. As it is sometimes pointed out to those of us who write and work on behalf of the nation’s pets, we are often preaching to the choir. Most people who read blogs like mine are already committed to the love and care of animals and those that need help. But what about the others? Yes, let’s talk about those others. (For the sake of this article, we will focus on canines).
I don’t know about you, but I can spot a fellow dog-lover in a flash. Just look at the expression and movements of those who are greeted by your dog or dogs upon entering your home. I have come up with a scale (1-4) that helps to define what kind of situation you’ve got on your hands.
Type 1 – These individuals love dogs. They may have several dogs of their own they have rescued…they are thrilled to meet your canine friends, some will drop to their knees, arms wide-open, some may even wrestle with your pack, rolling around on the ground or floor making dog-like sounds. At the dinner table, they may sneak scraps off their plates and discretely feed your dog under the table or have the dog pre-rinse the plate with its tongue.
Type 2 – These people like dogs, they have had one or two in their lives and may be even thinking of having another one at some point. They will smile and say something like, “Oh, nice doggy…now, now,” while pushing your dog’s head away (if you have a chronic over greeter on your hands). During meal time, they are happy to have your dog in the room, but at a respectable distance from the table.
Type 3 – Indifferent. These people never grew up with a pet. They will step away from your dog and their eyes glaze over if you tell them a cute story of what your dog did that morning. They think dogs are messy, noisy, too much work and highly over-rated. They wouldn’t protest if you locked up your dog in a room or outside while they visit.
Type 4 – These people actually dislike dogs. They may be fearful of them (perhaps having had a bad experience), they may be allergic to them, or they just don’t get anything about them. These are the people that encourage you to stop by while you are driving to Florida (or elsewhere) then suggest that you leave your dog tied up outside or in their garage while you join them for dinner or overnight. These are also the people a dog-lover will never visit again or invite to their own home.
Okay, so I assume that Type 1 and 2 might enjoy a blog about dogs and of course National Dog Week. But it is types 3 and 4 who can really help our animals the most. These are the people we need to enlist in the Cause for the Paws. Why? Here are points to ponder…
Tired of homeless pets roaming around your neighborhoods and overcrowding the local shelter down the road? You animal dislikers can really help. Do something that will lessen their numbers. Support low-cost Spay and Neuter programs, talk to your local animal shelters and veterinary practices about ways to have more of your local dogs and cats “Fixed.” You will be rewarded as you won’t have to see so many of these animals walking about “bothering” you and disturbing your life. February is National Spay and Neuter Month. You can also support groups like https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240
Fed up with going to the local mall just to have your shopping trip ruined by a retail store selling puppies? Shoot, you were just going out for a bite to eat, or to purchase new shoes and NOW you had to see a bunch of cute caged puppies staring at you as you ponder what kind of bagels you are going to get or what size latte. But you can do something. Banish that puppy retailer. How? Help to organize a Peaceful Protest outside of one of these shops (I will present some who really do this in an upcoming post). Educate your friends about how bad these stores are for our homeless pet population. Dissuade them from buying a pup at these stores…make the supply go away by cutting off the demand.
Just finished cleaning your closets and wondering how to unload all those old blankets, sheets and towels? You can let those shelter dogs and cats know you think they are second rate by donating this material to a local sheltering facility. As the lonely cats and dogs snuggle in warmth and comfort, they won’t even curse you for giving them your rags.
Think our dogs have become lazy and need to get jobs? You are right. Hey, with 70 million dogs in the United States, shouldn’t more of them be doing what they were born to do? Help finance programs that train and maintain K-9 dogs and Military Dogs so they can go help the Police and Military Personnel protect you and your family from harm (they won’t even ask if you like them before risking their lives to save you). Make sure they get the protective gear they need and the food and medical supplies they need to keep them tip top so they can work harder to serve you better.
Tired of visiting an elderly relative at the nursing home? Get more of those lazy dogs that are languishing in shelters back to work. If you get more of them trained as therapy dogs, you won’t have to visit the lonely and sad so often, the dogs will do all that nice stuff for you. Think it is burdensome to help a disabled person perform chores and get about in the world? With more dogs certified as Service Dogs, you will be free to do more important things while those “useless” annoying dogs make a difference to more people. (Did you know there is a difference between therapy and service dogs-more on that at a later date).
And here’s the best part…if those of you who really don’t get it ever need the services of these dogs at some point, they will never hold it against you that at one time you didn’t see their value. They are incapable of comprehending an unloving or unappreciative nature. They don’t judge or hold grudges.
So, I hope those who really don’t care for dogs at all can use this dislike to help the dogs and cats of the world. You just might benefit some day.
I thank the hardworking rescuers, cross-posters, transporters and all the others who make a difference in the world of our Companion Animals. It has been an honor to come to know so many. We do need to keep preaching to each other, supporting causes by sharing information and occasionally providing a much needed smile or laugh!
Please continue to support the National Dog Week Community Page and help it grow…https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974