There exists a hidden truth within the world of dog ownership we call “owned, misunderstood, abandoned.” It often begins with the exciting addition of a dog to your household. It’s a wonderful time of bonding, training, and usually spoiling this special new addition. Unfortunately, about 5% of these unions become a life-threatening experience for the dog and sometimes the source of great, emotional anguish for the owner(s). We’d like to help break this cycle before it begins with a little dose of professional insight.
There are 70 million dogs living in 46 million households in the USA. We know 5% doesn’t sound like a lot (compare it to the 50% divorce rate). However, those in the 5% represent 3.3 million dogs every year caused by our demand for this domesticated dependent; our mute friends have no voice, no say in the matter. Nearly 700,000 of those abandoned are euthanized every year. Fortunately, that number is down from 1.5 million as of just a few years ago thanks to the unsung efforts of a growing rescue community.
A new dog in your life can easily become misunderstood, especially if you have not carefully considered its impact upon your life. As part of the rescue community, we consistently hear all sorts of abandonment stories. Many canines turn out to be a "bad fit" for the owner and their lifestyle and /or a particular member of the family. Some will mark their territory or become aggressive, even overprotective biters. You might be amazed when you see the array of fluffy little cutie-pies that exhibit the worst type of behavior, usually a simple indication of misunderstanding between owner and the true nature of dogs.
The essential point is that the responsibility of a “good fit” rests solely with you, the new owner. It is necessary to become educated on the wide variety of breeds, their known traits, and attributes like energy level, fur that does/doesn't shed; even bladder size for those late nights out with your friends. Choose one that can best suit your personality and household. It’s also crucial to ask the big questions: ‘Does my lifestyle truly support a dog? Am I ready, or will I ever be ready, to accept responsibility for the life of this animal?’ These misunderstandings can often be avoided altogether, meaning one less abandoned dog, and perhaps 21% less use of euthanasia.
There are many reasons for bringing a dog into your life, and we welcome all into the nation
of dog-lovers. But let's exercise a little common sense and dare I say, mutual respect? To see a dog as a sovereign being with rights to enjoy a safe and love-filled existence, as an individual with its own personality and behavioral traits that naturally wants to find its place in your pack. This could be the catalyst for a thoughtful approach to choosing your new companion!