When my dog Shadow died (she’s gracing the blog header), I did some kooky things.
Every morning, I’d say out loud, “I miss Shadow.” I looked through hundreds of blurry pictures we had taken of her. And I spontaneously burst into tears throughout the day.
But the one thing I most wanted to do, I didn’t.
Is it Good for the Dog?
What did I most want to do? Every time I saw a dog, I had an intense desire to rush up to him, grab him around the shoulders, and rub my cheek along his muzzle. Yep, I know. It’s a great way to get bitten.
I can’t tell you how hard I had to resist getting all lovey with every strange dog I saw.
But I knew most dogs, if not all, would find such behavior threatening and uncomfortable. I forced myself to remember that if I really love dogs, I’ll respect them too. I won’t force my attentions where they’re unwanted and allow dogs to approach me on their own terms.
Crazy Dog People Come in Two Flavors
All crazy dog people love dogs. But only some crazy dog people respect them.
I read a blog post at Donna and The Dogs that really stuck with me. She wrote about taking her shy dog, Meadow, to a Vizsla Fun Day. While there, a stranger became obsessed with getting Meadow to like him. When his efforts failed, he snuck behind Meadow, threw his arms around her, and yelled, “Gotcha!”
If you asked this man if he loved dogs, I’m sure he’d say yes. But his actions didn’t show that he respected dogs. Or he certainly didn’t respect Meadow.
Adding Respect to Love for Dogs
Dogs are the most common household pet in America. People spend billions on their dogs each year. If you took a survey, I’m sure most Americans would say they love dogs.
But millions of dogs are killed in shelters each year. Compulsion trainers have the greatest fame and platform. And puppies are still produced under cruel conditions for people who “love” dogs.
Maybe “love” isn’t enough. So here’s my question: how do we teach people that loving a dog means respecting her too?
What’s Wagging Next: Congratulations to Carrie of Tales and Tails who won the Following Atticus giveaway. Thank you to everyone who played along.
For a review of another great book, join us Thursday, September 13 for Pet Travel Thursday here and at A Traveler’s Library where I’ll be reviewing Driving by Moonlight: A Journey Through Love, War, and Infertility. A road trip is always great. A road trip with a Golden Shepherd and a classic car is even better.