Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Op Ed Thoughts

One of the things that I've appreciated the most since Belle went for her evaluation is the ability to be an observer for a change. Belle and I are usually focused on each other when we're together. I don't often get a chance to see how the other dogs and their foster moms work together. Last night at the Monday Night Class I got the chance. And I was so impressed.

All of the dogs in the class are 15-16 months old. Yet there they were, opening doors, performing "push" on an item at some distance from the foster mom, retrieving any and all items from the retrieval buckets. It wasn't the fact that they could perform those skills that impressed me the most - it was the attitude they had as they worked. Each dog was excited. Each dog was eager. Each dog had their tails wagging and an expression on their face that said, "ok, that was fun - what's next"! Carson, the graduate dog I was working with, would even groan if I didn't give him a new task fast enough. (I wish I could have generated a similar response from some of the humans I've worked with - but I digress!)

Contrast that with the pictures of the puppy mill puppies posted on RAGOM's website and a profound sorrow rises within me. How I wish every one of them could be raised as a Helping Paws dog. How many human lives would be improved if these dogs were given the same chance at a joyful, meaningful life of work and love. Instead, they lived chained, in unclean cages with minimal medical care and bred till they died or could breed no more.

What can we do to change this cruelty? Write your legislators requesting new laws banning puppy mills. Refuse to do business with pet stores that sell puppies and kittens. Adopt a rescued animal. Remember always that the worth of a society is most easily determined by how it cares for its neediest members. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but seeing those pictures of the rescued dogs really makes me want to rant.

No comments: