September 15th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments
As fast the small-sized dogs are homed they are replaced by others, all of whom have similar stories and have the same resultant behaviour issues. They are bought from pet shops or home breeders as too-young puppies, kept for a while as substitute teddy bears or babies, passed to a friend, then to another, most probably caged and almost certainly left alone all day, and then finally, when they are completely confused about everything, they are abandoned. People want small dogs because they think they are easier, but the truth is that the larger mongrels have never seen the inside of a pet shop or a breeding farm, and they are therefore well-balanced and without the puppyhood mental scars, certainly the ones that come to HKDR as puppies and grow up with us.There was a new arrival today, a young maltese that had apparently been abused (what’s new?) and had turned into a biter (or so we were told). As with human children, very early life experiences have a dramatic effect on the growing brain, and it takes time and patience to undo the damage and re-train. It’s not impossible as we have seen time and again, but many of the little dogs are adopted and returned, even if we explain all of the issues and how to solve them. There is no quick fix and no substitute for patience and time. A dog needs to adjust and settle, and to learn how to trust that it’s not going to be hit. There is nothing that is more guaranteed to turn a dog into a biter than physical violence, as (particularly with small-sized breeds) their teeth are their only defence. Only bullies hit those that can’t fight back, and even being yelled at can be extremely scary and intimidating if you are ankle high.
We turn down a lot of would-be adopters for various reasons and quite often that results in angry responses, but the fact is that we see the results of leaving dogs alone all day, or not exercising them enough (not to mention the caging and punishment-based “training”). The other day I got the works for turning down a potential home because the dog would be walked twice a week, and how dare I make assumptions about their suitability as dog owners. It doesn’t work and it never will, because in the end our dogs have come from homes like these and that’s why they have been abandoned, and it’s why we will never (knowingly) send them back to the same situation.
To put it quite simply, keeping a dog is not a human right and pets are not short-term toys to be used, abused and then thrown out. If you are out at work all day then you don’t have the time to take care of a dog. Giving a puppy a couple of hours of your time in the evening is not enough, and it’s selfish to think that it is. There wouldn’t be the number of homeless dogs (and the thousands killed every year) if people thought less about satisfying their own short-term desires and more about the animals whose whole lives depend on their owners.
This also applies to expats who adopt puppies and then give them up when they move to another country. When you take on a dog, you have to be realistic and honest about whether or not you can commit to a lifetime, and in this day and age that can even mean twenty years. Adopting a puppy isn’t saving a life when that puppy becomes an unwanted adult dog, and the cases of expats who are not willing to take their family pet with them when they move is sadly becoming more and more common. I grew up as an expat, and as much as I and my siblings pleaded for a dog, the most we got were budgerigars (small parakeets). Allowing young children to have a puppy simply because they want one is tantamount to cruelty to animals if it isn’t a lifetime family decision.
If I seem angry it’s because I am, and what makes it worse is when those who apply to surrender their dogs, like Peggy, are surprised when they don’t get a warm welcome and a pat on the back. We currently have hundreds of dogs waiting and hoping for a home and all of them are innocent victims who had no choice about their circumstances.
Moving on, I was at the warehouse today and claimed my Peak to Fong T-shirt. It won’t be long before they’ll be available ……… (but they’ll be a secret until then!)