Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category
Dogspired is a popular blog that was launched in 2009 by two entrepreneurial friends in the D.C. area. Their goal was to build an online community around a popular (and growing) subject — dogs. Eager for original stories, they put an ad on Craigslist that said simply, “Dog Blog Writers Wanted.”
When I saw the ad I was a technical writer living with three dogs. Without really knowing what a blog was, or how much it might pay to write for one, it seemed like a dream come true. I answered the ad with a big pitch for my years of writing and editing experience, as well as my years as an animal advocate.
Dogs are very social creatures, and they put their remarkable sense of smell to great use. The way they gather information from sniffing is their form of social networking.
If you’re at all familiar with Facebook, it’s not hard to make the connection between your social network and your dog’s community of scents. We typically use Facebook to stay connected with our friends and friends of friends. Dogs connect with other dogs by using their noses. When a dog makes his mark by peeing on something, he leaves a bit of himself behind for other dogs to share—similar to leaving a comment on Facebook.
Just as we “like” a good post, a dog “likes” a good, pungent scent. Other dogs know by sniffing who has been to the same spot. There’s a scent that says Trixie, the French poodle, has left a comment about visiting the local dog park. Or, Butch, the Bull Mastiff, has just moved into the neighborhood.
Like a typical golden retriever, Tasha first holds a stuffed toy with a “soft mouth.” This breed usually holds their prey tightly, but without too much pressure, so as not to actually pierce it. Sometimes they even drop what’s in their mouth.
Not my dog. No matter how big or small the stuffed toy, it doesn’t take Tasha long to get a good grip and start ripping it apart. She’s like a dog maniac on a short-lived mission.
I’ve tried hiding these fuzzy teddy bears, rabbits, and balls, but she can smell them. I wonder what stuffing must smell like.
A cute, Golden Retriever puppy named Lucky wasn’t born lucky at all. In fact, when she came into the world, she didn’t even have a name. You see, Lucky was part of a large litter of puppies born in a puppy mill.
Lucky’s mother was used as a breeding machine. Over and over, the skinny dog had her litters of puppies. The puppies stayed crammed together in a tiny chicken-wire cage in their own waste. They were unable to stand or sit. Tightly enclosed with her brothers and sisters, Lucky tried to curl up in a little ball to make herself as small as possible, but failed every time.
When Lucky was just a few weeks old, she was shoved onto a truck, where she suffered on the long trip to a pet store. When she arrived, Lucky was advertised as a “cute Golden Retriever puppy.” Although her price tag was high, she lacked any socialization skills. She was very shy and afraid of people. Lucky stayed curled up and waited.
Soon, she was bought by a family who wanted the cute puppy with the light gold fur. Clueless about Lucky’s background, they took her home with them. Soon, the family became frustrated with the sad little puppy that never barked or played. Her eyes stayed vacant, and she didn’t respond to anyone. After only a few weeks, they took her to a street far away, and dumped her on the side of the road.
Recently, I was walking along a beach in Southern California, where it seemed as though almost everyone had a dog of some variety. As I walked along, I started asking people where they got their dog. Many of them replied that they had purchased their dog from a breeder or private party, which disturbed me greatly.
Being an advocate of animal welfare, and dog rescue in particular, I felt the need to convey my opinion. Did these people not know that there are dogs waiting in shelters to be adopted and loved? Did they not care about giving an abandoned or abused dog a chance at a forever home?
I wanted to spread the word about the importance of adopting companion animals from shelters and rescue groups. I wanted to make people aware of how spending great amounts of money to buy a dog was a selfish act, especially when that money could be used to help shelters and rescue groups keep going.
As I gathered more disturbing responses from dog owners, I started to visualize just what form a message would take to help people stop and think about rescuing a dog rather than buying one. In the interest of spreading awareness about dog rescue, I struggled with the exact wording, but then it came to me—bold lettering on a t-shirt that said simply: “Why Buy? Rescue a Dog.”
I missed it this year, and I feel terrible. I didn’t remember that it was Tasha’s birthday until a few days after it had passed.
I’ll get her the usual birthday cupcakes tomorrow and we’ll celebrate. Too bad she doesn’t have any friends this year to help her celebrate. Well, actually she does have friends, but they’re not the birthday types.
Tasha is a rescue, so technically she doesn’t have a birthday. But the man I rescued her from told me (for some reason) that December 23rd was her birthday. So, I celebrate it every year.
Happy Birthday to my girl, who’s now five-years old, but acts about two. I’m so glad we found each other.