Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How 'bout a cup of kindness?

I try, at least in this blog, to avoid the politics of dog ownership. I do have strong opinions on the topic, but I'm not entirely sure the rest of the world wants to hear them.

What I know for sure is that we should all respect the informed, well-considered opinions of others, whether they agree with us or not.

Recently, on the Twitter social network, (I'm GollyGear there), someone commented that people who own and compete with purebred dogs have to be rather "shy." Apparently, if we choose to have a purebred dog we can't really talk about it in public these days. The people owning mixed-breeds, preferably those adopted from shelters, seem to have the moral high ground.

Dog ownership is a choice. It is the only love money truly can buy. They are not my children, nor am I their guardian. I am wholly and completely responsible for my dogs; their health, safety, and their behavior.

I hope to have many, many years with each of my dogs. I have particular needs and preferences to consider when choosing a dog, and I want to train my dogs from their puppyhood on. For these reasons, and many others, I choose to own purebred dogs.

I respect the fact that my choice is not everyone's. And I hope that others will respect mine. I hope we can all discuss our points of view civilly - each contributing his knowledge and experience to polite debate.

So I'm hoping for a kinder, gentler 2009, where, as Voltaire said: "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
Bookmark and Share


Uncivil said...

I'm gonna have a pure bred Boston Terrier from now on and I don't care what anyone says about it!

I love having a puppy I can raise just the way I want it from the get go.

I hate it when folks try to put us on a guilt trip for not adopting.

I have adopted/rescued a Boston Terrier before and it was heartbreaking because she only lived for two years with us, as she was very old to start with.
However, it was heart warming to know that I crammed as much love as I could into those two years for her, so she would know what it was like to be loved.

Have a Great New Year!

FrogDogz said...

How incredibly well put. I've been a bit stressed out lately about this very issue -- the demonization of dog breeders. In fact, next week I have to stand in front of an entire board of directors and defend my moral 'right' to breed dogs.

I'm having a hard time deciding how to do that in a civil manner. Maybe it's impossible to respond to uncivil fallacies with anything but anger. We shall see.

Hope all of you have a wonderful 2009!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with much of your statement. My dog is not my child and never can be. I am responsible for her well being because I chose to be. She is a pure breed dog. I have allergies to many breeds of dogs, so a "mutt" is not a good choice. (I have had several mixed bred dogs and rescued dogs in the past.) My mother was always displeased with my having purebred dogs--she adopted her dogs, making her morally superior. My response to this was that in adopting dogs from shelters, aren't we very often rewarding people who picked up a dog as an emotional response to sad little dog they see at a pet store or newpaper ad, without researching the breed or the responsibilities of dog ownership or who let their dog make puppies so their children could witness the miracle of birth (never mind what happens to the puppies), people who move and leave the dogs, etc and who did not find a home for the dog on their own (made the shelter do it for them). This will probably ignite all kinds of displeasure from dog owners, but I still think shelters promote irresponsibility more than responsibility. The real problem is people don't think before committing to pet ownership. Let's work on that behavior instead of taking the problem off their hands through shelters. Breeders of pure breds put a lot of money and effort into their dogs. Shouldn't we reward them? Paying for a puppy hopefully increases the odds that the buyer has thought about what he/she is spending money on.

Hope said...

I'm very glad to know I'm not alone!

Uncivil - you know we're in total agreement - life is better with Bostons!

FrogDogz - it's unbelieveable to me that you have to defend yourself to anyone! Give 'em hell!

Anon - Your perspective on the issue is unique and insightful! I'd never thought about shelters that way before. Are we enabling people to shed their responsibilities by supporting shelters? That may be, but if we don't, what will happen to the dogs (and cats)? Education IS the answer, as you say, but how do we get the message across?