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Why do some people have dogs?

by Therese on February 21, 2007

in Pets, Rants

I don’t quite understand why some people have dogs…or any type of pet for that matter. I was taking care of a couple of cats over the weekend and since one of them has health issues whenever I take care of these two I go twice a day. It’s not their people I have a problem with…it’s some folks who live in an apartment I walk by to get to my client’s apartment.

I’ve taken care of these guys for the last few years, and every time I go over there I either see or hear a little dachshund outside in a small enclosed yard. I’ve never seen a person out there with him, but I hear the little guy barking his fool head off. I say “barking his fool head off” although he doesn’t bark nearly as much since he had to live with a shock collar for quite a while. The thing is, every time – and I do mean every time – I walk by this place, I hear the dog barking. I didn’t always see him though, and the yard is small…maybe 5′ x 8′ so there aren’t many places where he can hide. I thought at first that he was inside barking through an open window but all the windows and doors were always shut tight. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I heard the little guy barking and finally saw that he was stuck in a small crate outside!

Now I’ll admit, I haven’t spent an entire day watching what these folks do with their dog but like I said, every time I walk by that apartment I hear the dog and sometimes I see him and sometimes I don’t. When I heard him, and then saw that he was in a crate, the only conclusion I could come to is that this is how this little guy spends most of his time. It hurt to think it’s a very real possibility this little guy spends most of his time cooped up in a crate.

I know it’s not right to compare what other people do with their pets on how I live with mine, but sometimes I just can’t help but wonder WHY? Why have a dog if he’s not part of the family. I just don’t get it.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

jan February 21, 2007 at 7:09 pm

That is so sad. I don’t understand either why they have dogs and deprive both the dog and themselves of companionship. I’ve always wanted to confront people like that, but I’m afraid I would lose my distance from the problem. The dogs end up being a nuisance and are too often taken away to be a problem of the taxpayers.


Karen Shanley February 22, 2007 at 5:32 am

Ditto Jan.


EnergyPaws February 22, 2007 at 8:53 pm

ugh… ugh!

I think people just either don’t know what to do or are to lazy to try.


Jimmy February 22, 2007 at 9:29 pm

The more I love dogs….the less I like people. I just wish there was some kind of justice for all the mistreated little doggies in the world.

The only thing that good pet owners can do is lead by example, but that never seems to be enough.

I have had a few friends seem to be better at taking care of their dogs because I will defintely put them on a guilt trip with the way I spoil mine!


Therese February 22, 2007 at 9:38 pm

There have been times when I’ve talked people into giving me their dog because of the way they were being treated. The last time was when my Mom and I saw a little dog tied up to a post on a deck. If he’d fallen off the deck he would have been hung because the rope was so short. The woman was pretty happy to get rid of the dog, who by the way, we found a great home for a few days later.


Julie April 1, 2007 at 5:29 am

I strongly agree that people who don’t allow their dogs to become members of the family have no business having dogs. It happened in my own family, as a matter of fact. Our family got a dog in the 80s because my kid brother wanted a dog, and as an Asian American only son, he usually got what he wanted. But our mother insisted the dog be raised outside because “humans and animals should not mix” and because dogs bring dirt into the house. It was all the sadder because the breed was a lhasa, which is an indoor dog. The poor dog grew progressively distanced from any human contact; he’d peridically run away. He lived in a small backyard his whole life. Finally he became senile and ill from some unknown disease for which he wasn’t taken to the vet. When it finally became clear that he could no longer hang on (he was stumbling around and blood was oozing from parts of his body), they couldn’t even agree to have him put down, because they thought it would be “cruel” to do so. He suffered and cried in the backyard for days until my father finally took him to the vet to have him put down.

By the way, I wasn’t there (I was married and living 300 miles away), and I didn’t hear about it until afterwards. I’d actually tried to adopt him the year before, but his mind was already gone. He didn’t get along with my dogs and he went to the bathroom in his own bed. He had this glazed look in his eyes and paced around constantly. Our vet said he was senile and should be put down, but my family wouldn’t let me do that (because it would be “cruel”) so the only other option was to return him to their backyard. In retrospect, I should have just followed my vet’s advice and not returned him.

I hate to single out a particular ethnic group (especially as I’m a member of one). I’ve had two shih tzus since I left home and they sleep in my bed (my mother is horrified by this). But it’s true that these examples of mistreatment do often arise in certain ethnic families, because of their unenlightened attitudes towards pets and animals generally.

So yes, it’s terrible. But it’s going to keep happening. My parents would probably say the dog wasn’t mistreated; he was always fed and they’d take him to be groomed. But he was never a member of the family, and that’s how thousands of dogs live. They shouldn’t have dogs to begin with, but until we change peoples’ basic attitudes towards dogs, the situation probably isn’t going to change. It’s too bad that anyone with a few hundred bucks can go and buy a life to do with whatever they want.

I think that shelters should have policies that say that dogs can’t be adopted unless their adoptive families promise to make the dog a member of the family (and live indoors). The shelters should follow up on these agreements and check in with the families to make sure that they honor their promises. Really, anyone selling a pet should have such a clause; many responsible rescue organizations and breeders already insist on this.

End rant.


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