“just a dog”

I remember growing up in the ’70s and always having a dog or a cat – or multiples – in our home. Living with dogs was very different then, wasn’t it? Food choices were easily drilled down to Alpo, Dog Chow, Gaines Burgers or few others. Training your dog meant rolled up newspaper swats on the snout and rubbing noses in mistakes in the house.  Dogs seemed to have very specific “places” in the family unit… a dog was just a dog. Not too many years before then it was believed that dogs didn’t feel pain… seriously!

Thank goodness for progress! Experience, science and many brilliant animal biologists and behaviorists have moved people’s former ideas about living with dogs forward. We make better food choices to keep them healthy and with us longer. We make better training choices that are rooted in positive reinforcement. We build relationships with our dogs that are based on mutual respect and leadership over dominance.  Our “just dogs” are members of the family.

My husband Jeff and I share our home with two wonderful dogs; Lucy the Golden Retriever and Jagger the Cockapoo. They are members of our family and we are committed to doing what it takes to keep them healthy, happy and well-balanced. Nothing bugs me more than when I relay a story about something we’ve done for one of the dogs like a trip to the emergency vet for a torn dewclaw and receive something like the following, “Really, you did that? But s/he’s just a dog?” After many unpleasant interactions that have put me in not-so-popular positions, I have learned to bite my tongue.

There is no such thing as “just a dog.” They are living, breathing beings. They are loyal, non-judgmental and emotional. They depend on those of us who care for them to do just that… care for them. In the same way that you would any other member of your family, please.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply