If you’re here, chances are you’re a dog person. We dog people understand that dogs make our lives whole and the emotional bonds we’ve forged with them are undeniable. But this can make calm, reasonable talk about our furry companions tough – in some cases, it can be harder to talk to people about their dogs than their children!
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a fascination with animals. I was a voracious reader and would absorb any books about animals I could get my sticky little hands on – fiction or non-fiction. I was particularly obsessed with horses and decided I wanted to be a molecular biologist and a race horse breeder and I planned to create the perfect racehorse.
Well, life progressed in the usual way, and shockingly I did not end up becoming a molecular biologist/racehorse breeder. Instead my passion for horses transferred to dogs. My mother owned a dog training company, and from a young age I helped her out by cleaning up the yard and feeding dogs. Then I transitioned into training and showing. I took a little break in my early twenties to work in an office, but remained active in the dog world and trained and showed in my spare time. After a few years at a desk, I decided I’d rather get literally pooped on by dogs than put up with most people’s figurative bulldoody.
I then got a job at a pet grooming shop and while my grooming skills will always remain adequate at best, I soon became manager and enjoyed the different perspective that grooming gave on the dog world. When you’re training dogs, generally people come to you wanting to learn and seeking help and advice. As a groomer, you see that people love their dogs, but generally they’re not looking to be educated, they’re not looking for advice. And even when they ask, they’re often not receptive.
While I was grooming,I started becoming more involved with rescue, particularly of my heart breed, the Cane Corso. The more time I spent in the rescue world and the more dog owners I interacted with, the more I realized I wanted a job where I had a larger platform to educate dog owners and affect a broader change. The timing was perfect, and I am now an animal control officer for my local city. I focus my energy on educating people who often love their pets but don’t know any better and enforcing laws that are necessary for the welfare of the animals.
In my years working closely with dog owners, I’ve realized that on a national level, our perception of pet ownership and rescue is flawed. The information that Americans receive regarding animals and their welfare is wildly polarized. On one side we have people who don’t think twice about buying a “purebred yorkichuapoo” off craigslist for three hundred bucks and on the other extreme are people who vilify anyone who doesn’t “rescue” their dog and support PETA. Both extremes can be detrimental to the future of pet ownership.
Our culture also seems to place unreasonable value on our emotional reactions to our pets without placing equal value on rational thought regarding their actual well being. We anthropomorphize and talk about being “dog parents” but often completely gloss over the fact that they are a completely different species from us and have unique, individual needs.
My goal for this blog is to create a forum where animal lovers can discuss dogs in a way that values facts and places their well being as a priority. Let’s use facts and logic to guide our discussions while maintaining open minds and hearts.