Saturday, January 23, 2010

Going to the dogs

We've been cogitating on why so many people feel that they absolutely HAVE to have a dog, but have no idea of how to have a dog. I think that at least 75% of the households in my neighborhood have a dog, and of those, only 20% do right by them.

Don't get me wrong -- I love dogs. I've had two fabulous canines in my life.

Nate, the Wonder Dog, who was half black lab and half old English sheepdog:

I had Nate when I met Tom. Unfortunately, he got hit by a truck in the Ozarks on Christmas Eve, 1981.

Then, there was Zildjian, who we got sort of accidentally, but was part of our family for 10 years:

What I don't think our neighbors understand, though, is what social critters dogs are. A dog is a lot of work -- almost like a kid. Would you just toss a kid out into the back yard with a bowl of water and a bowl of food and ignore it? I don't think so (plus, you'd end up in jail). Why is that considered okay for a dog? When Zildjian died, we decided that we will never have another dog. We just don't want to devote the time and energy to it (and it's wonderful to be able to walk across the back yard without watching for piles of dog crap).

One of our neighbors has a huge German shepherd (actually, it's crazy decorating people). They think they're being good to the dog because they take it for a walk around the block a couple times a day. But the dog never gets to run. It's resigned itself to its life; but when they go by, the dog is walking with its tail between its legs and looking very sad.

Other neighbors have put a heat lamp in a tool shed for their dog, and they feed and water him. But, I have NEVER seen anybody in that house talk to, play with, or pay the slightest bit of attention to him. And to make matters worse, they have put a shock collar on him, so if he barks to try and get their attention, he gets a shock. Why isn't that illegal?

Anyway, I find it all very sad. Tom's birthday is tomorrow -- maybe I'll get him a puppy.