Sunday, December 15, 2013

Making Responsible Choices

Being an adult is about responsibilities.  Having a dog is a big responsibility.  Being the person responsible for a dog will inevitably lead to some very hard choices.  Good owners make the best choices they can for their dogs and their individual situations, no matter how difficult they are.  Sometimes these choices are not something we WANT to have to make, but good owners make the choices they truly believe will provide the best long term outcome for those in their care.

In this way, being a dog owner is much like being a parent: Choices, and the desire to see those in your care happy and healthy.

We make lots of choices that will be judged, sometimes harshly, by others in our society....

We choose to breast feed, or not.
We choose to surgically remove the reproductive organs of our dogs, or not.
We choose to have our sons circumcised, or not.
We choose to train our dogs with electronic collars, or not.
We choose to put our children on medications that alter their behavior, or not.
We choose to remove the dewclaws of our puppies, or not.
We choose to home-school our children, or not.
We choose to end our pets' suffering medically, or not.
We choose the religion our children will be exposed to, or not.
We choose to crop our dogs' ears, or not.
We choose to vaccinate, or not.    
We choose to dock tails, or not.
We choose to have our dog's bark surgically altered, or not.
We choose to feed our dogs a kibbled diet, or not.

Many of these choices will have a lasting impact on the lives of those we make the decision for.  Many of them can be invasive and carry an inerrant risk.  People hold very strong opinions on the "right choice" and most of these choices will not go without the opinions and judgements of others impressed upon us, wanted or not.  All of them are choices we make with the hopes of doing the best for those we are responsible for.

Sometimes we make these choices by determining what will be the easiest for our charges as well as ourselves.  Sometimes our choices come down to our perception of the lesser of two evils.
We may choose to neuter our dogs, despite the health risks that come with doing so (educate yourself on some of those risks here), because we wish to avoid the consequences of an unwanted litter of puppies or the stress caused by dealing with intact dogs in our homes.  
We may choose to circumcise our sons, despite the potential impact to his sexual health, because we wish to avoid hygienic issues.   
We may choose to remove the dewclaws of our puppies, despite the pain it causes them, in order to avoid serious injury by them getting caught and torn in the field.
We may choose to have our dog's bark surgically altered, even though it may cause the dog some pain, because we are genuinely concerned for his safety due to unhappy neighbors disturbed by the noise he makes when he is plays outside.

We make all of these choices because we want the BEST for those we are responsible for, and I VERY STRONGLY support our right to make them.  

I hope, as dog owners, parents, and as responsible adults, we can all choose to have a little open mindedness and understanding... and choose to respect the choices of others, even when we may not agree with them.  After all, we all make the choices we do because we want the best for our charges in our own unique circumstances.  And when we make these choices, I hope we can all keep an open mind to new ideas that may provide us new insight if we are to be presented with the same choices in the future.  There is no shame in changing our minds, but there is nothing to be gained by judging the choices of others.

As breeders, we are put in a unique situation of both being responsible for the life and care of every dog we ever produce as well as understanding that despite the very best efforts and intentions of our buyers there ultimately may be cases where choices we don't like need to be made.  As a buyer I encourage you, first, to VERY carefully read your contract when purchasing a dog and make absolutely sure that you both understand as well as accept the terms within it before you sign it.  When necessary, seek the guidance of your breeder and remember that a good breeder wants nothing more than the dog you purchased from them to be happy and healthy. Please remember that deviation from a contractual agreement without discussion with your breeder is a serious breach of trust and could be highly damaging to your relationship with your breeder (and very well may lead to legal action).  As a breeder, I hope we can all remain open minded and understanding of individual circumstances and find amiable solutions to issues that may arise with our puppies.

Choosing to accept the choices of others, and their right to making them does not mean you must make the same choices.  It simply means accepting their right to the choice and your own right to make a different one if you wish.

Please, I ask you, in your life with dogs - educate yourself to the very best of your ability, seek to understand a reality outside your own, and remain open minded. 
Never profess to know the circumstances of another, the only reality you truly know is your own

Choose to respect the right of others to make the choices they make for their unique situation.  Perhaps, one day, you will find yourself in a new situation and you will see things in a different light than you do today.

Be kind to one another.  

Be understanding of realities outside of your own.

Understand that the world of reality is not perfect, and there are very rarely perfect solutions within it.

Comments are allowed on this post, but non-factual arguments or those containing hateful comments of any kind will be deleted by the page owner.