This is going to be a little more of a rant, but hey, we’re all human and we need the opportunity to vent every now and then. I volunteer at my local shelter and am amazed every single day (and not in a good way). One thing that really bothers me are “know-it-alls”. I think we all have the ability to continue to learn every single day. There are always people more knowledgeable than us, new information coming out, and new products being invented. But back to the know-it-alls.
Normally, I am able to go about my routine at the shelter without having to talk to any people. Those visiting the shelter see that I am on a mission and tend not to interfere. I had a few occasions today where I almost lost my marbles.
First, I will tell you about Taeka. Taeka has been at the shelter for months and it is beginning to show. She gets very excited when she sees she is going for a walk that she literally bounces off the walls and makes all sorts of noises. As soon as you get her out, she is your perfect, happy go lucky girl.
As I was getting Taeka out of her kennel, a woman approached me and said, “That is a mean dog”.
I tried to explain to her kennel frustration and how it affects dogs. I told her how sweet Taeka is outside and that she is actually amazing with her commands. The woman proceeded to roll her eyes at me as I talked, so I moved on.
Next, I decided to walk Mercedes. Mercedes is a Doberman Pinscher. I always wait for the dogs to call down before I enter their kennel. As I was waiting, another woman approached me and said, “Oh, she’s a Doberman? She might as well be put down. Those are vicious dogs”. Once again, this woman knew nothing about the dog other than her breed. I replied that she is actually a very sweet girl and went about my business.
You would think my story would end after two dogs.
After I’m done walking dogs, I like to take the time to go to each kennel and love up on the dogs. One I am particularly fond of is a little pit bull. This sweet boy would drench you in slobber if you’d allow him. A THIRD woman made a comment to me about how there are too many pit bulls, they’re all vicious, and they should just be put down if they make their way into the shelter.
At this point, I am fuming and simply walk away.
I spent the drive home crying and trying to understand these people. Where did their ideas of these breeds come from? It is because there is so much breed specific legislature out there? Did they have a bad experience with a dog and it just happened to be one of those breeds? I will never understand breed specific legislature.
No breed is inherently aggressive. These are behaviors that humans have inflicted on them. Why are the dogs being punished? The dog is an amazingly resilient animal. Take a look at Michael Vick’s former dog fighting dogs. So many happily ever afters.
So please, when you visit a shelter, take what you see with a grain of salt. These dogs are cooped up in a poor environment and that definitely takes a toll on them. Remember, there’s more to a dog than it’s breed.
Will you help a shelter dog find his happily ever after?