I recently ran across an article in the Globe and Mail regarding “dog dumping”, abandoning dogs on the roadside, in forests and even in the garbage. This is heartbreaking because we only hear about the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abandoned dogs. There are hundreds of stories that go untold!
I think there are two reasons for these occurrences. Firstly I believe that our animal welfare laws in Canada are far too weak and do not promote the perception of animals as sentient beings with their behavioural and physiological needs being cared for. In the article, comparison is made to Denmark and Sweden where animal welfare laws are strict and there are ongoing campaigns regarding pet welfare. The culture there is one of compassion and empathy towards animals. In both of these places the incidence of abandoning animals is very rare.
However I believe that another reason for this happening is that people purchase or adopt dogs without realizing exactly what may be involved in their care. When you own a dog you are making a commitment to caring for them for their entire life, not just a few years.
My three Tibetan Terriers lived until they were 16 and 17, so it’s not a short-term commitment!
Think about a dog’s needs before you rush in to making the decision to add a dog to your family. Aside from food and shelter consider these other costs and responsibilities:
Veterinary care – annual injections, regular flea, tick and worm prevention, illness medication.
Dog training classes
Insurance (highly recommended)
Boarding kennel or pet sitter (when you take a vacation)
Doggie Daycare or a dog walker if you work all day
Pet grooming if you are unable to bath them, cut their nails and trim their fur by yourself
You need the time to:
Walk them daily
Play with them
And above all love them!
Adopt, don’t shop
I strongly support adopting rather than buying, where possible. There are so many wonderful dogs and cats in shelters. All they need is a loving family to choose them and take them home.
I have been privileged to meet some of these lovely, amazing dogs as a volunteer pet photographer for the Etobicoke Humane Society in Toronto. I can’t tell you how many of them I would have loved to take home with me!
Should You Adopt A Dog?
If you can offer a dog a loving home for the entire length of their life then you should consider adoption. If you can’t commit the time and finances needed then consider fostering a dog for a short period of time to get him out of the shelter environment. That will definitely give you an idea if dog ownership is for you.
I am sure many rescue organizations would be thrilled with the extra help.
Enjoy some of these photographs of wonderful dogs that for one reason or another found themselves at the shelter.