Dogs aren’t Toys

People and their dogs share more than just looks.
People and their dogs share more than just looks.

Note: I posted this column on November 11. However, the theme is so relevant for Christmas–and I haven’t finished wrapping the presents –that I decided to post it again.

On November This past Wednesday, I read on Twitter the story about a little puppy rescued after being thrown out of a moving car. I wish I could meet the person who did this and throw him inside an active volcano.

Although this story is unusual, rescue shelters all over the country are filled with dogs who have been abandoned by their owners when they move. I can’t help but wonder, what makes people do such terrible things? Are they even human?

Think about the scene. You are packing bags and boxes while your dog is looking at you wondering what is happening. The house is empty after the movers pick up the last piece of furniture.  Your dog follows you everywhere because he is worried that something might go wrong. Then, you put the leash around his neck.  He still trusts you and thinks it’s time for a wonderful walk around the neighborhood. His dream turns in his worst fear: you are leaving him. You tie him to a door knob or the fence in the back yard, close the door behind you, and never return.

This is a common story of animal cruelty, and it happens when people realize they are not ready to have a dog or didn’t want a pet in the first place. Folks fall in love with a picture of a puppy in a magazine, thinking the doggie will stay in that state and not grow to the size of an eight-year-old.

Once the cuteness phase fades, puppies become dogs and show their personality and make demands. Therefore, pet-parents and dogs enter into a relationship that requires commitment and respect, like any other.

The most common victims of abandonment are large breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Collies, and their mixed-breeds. By nature, these animals are bred to play, run, and work like maniacs until they drop dead. They require daily exercise and amusement just like a toddler, or a workaholic for that matter.

Pet stores should have a huge neon sign that reads, “Live Creature, Not A Toy,” on display during store hours and conduct a psychological test on the customers before they buy a dog. Off course, this would be detrimental to the Puppy Mill industry that makes millions of dollars from the cute faces of puppy litters jumping all over each other like clothes in a dryer.

But, besides the sales and marketing, the biggest cause of failed pet-parenthood is the lack of common sense. It is beyond my understanding why folks think that dogs are the ideal Christmas or birthday present for a three-year-old, who can’t even wipe his own bottom.

To be honest, I am Exhibit A for an animal cruelty case, not against dogs but chickens. I was four-years-old when I received a blue-dyed chick as a party favor–that shows the lack of development of Latin American countries. When I got home, I tried to flush him down the toilet. I don’t remember if the poor chick survived or not, but what I can tell you is that, even though I am an animal lover, the killer instinct in little kids’ psyche is innate.

The holidays are around the corner, and the desire to give the perfect present to someone we love will strike us. However, think well and research the breed you like before buying the puppy. Also, analyze your life style. If you are still in the bachelor or bachelorette stage–meaning that you party from Thursday until Sunday–chances are the poor dog will die of thirst and starvation.

At last, think adoption first. City shelters are always looking for the “forever homes” of so many dogs who are broken-hearted. When I think about my rescued babies, I see Rusty and Sasha as my husband’s and myself as dog reincarnations. Rusty is stocky and scrappy like my husband. He walks around pumping his chest out like he owns the place. And Sasha is long-legged and clumsy like me. She is loud and can eat anything at anytime of the day.

People who love their dogs share more than their looks. So, who is the dog?

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

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