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We're not toys

Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 11:13 PM

I've been sneaking on the computer again recently when my human's not home. I've been looking on something called "Craigslist" in the "pets" section. I guess this is a place where other doggies go to adopt humans.

Funny thing is, most of these ads appear to be written by people looking for pets. Seems as odd to me as having humans write their own blogs, but OK.

But if these things really are written by humans instead of doggies, then I've seen a lot of something lately that bothers me: ads that are posted by humans who are giving away a puppy because their child doesn't pay attention to it.

If this is really happening, then I need to tell the humans something: We're not toys.

No matter how much your child begs and pleads, don't go get a doggie without being sure they're ready for the responsibility. And I have a couple of suggestions on how to ckeck to see if they are ready.

First, do you have a neighbor who is planning to take a trip somewhere but can't take his doggies with him? Offer to "doggie-sit." You can go either way -- bring his doggies to your house or go over to their place and check on them. Expose your child to doggies this way. It's just a couple of days but it could give you an idea of whether or not your child is ready for a doggie.

Now, since neighbors don't go on trips all the time, another possibility is dog fostering. This is taking in a doggie who doesn't have a home temporarily. Some pet hotels -- "humane societies," or "dog pounds" as you may call them -- have fostering programs. This is where humans take in a doggie for a short period of time and monitors its behavior.

Fostering gives the humane society an idea of how a dog reacts to certain situations. For instance, if it turns out the doggie doesn't like kids or other dogs or (ugh) cats, then the society can make sure the doggie goes to the right home.

That's another thing that happens: Doggies going back to the pound because when the humans took it home, the doggie was bothered by the kids or was threatened by another doggie.

Fostering can also be done to give an injured doggie a quiet place to heal or to give a recovering doggie a chance to see how it can adapt to changes. Perhaps a doggie has a bad leg -- fostering allows a human to observe how the doggie is adapting.

At the same time, taking in a foster pet could give you an idea of how your child will handle having a dog around. If your kids take an active role in looking after the doggie, then you can anticipate that they'll be good with a doggie of their own.

Human pups have short attention spans. A doggie is a long-term commitment. On behalf of all my doggie friends out there, please think about that before you pick up a doggie for a child.

Thanks and woof,


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