A DOG FOR THE FAMILY
The smallest things show the smallest minds, as this Vermont dog owner discovered while walking her little dogs in the park.
A Day in My Life of Dog Fun
(And Public Perception)
by Karen Rhodes
October in VT and many people, local and tourists, are out and about at farmer markets, apple festivals, art fairs and the like, enjoying the beautifully changing foliage and cooler temperatures. Though many Vermonters engage in snow sports on a regular basis, we use caution with cold, temperatures, influenza, viruses, hazardous ice and snow.
I was on a regular outing with my three dogs. All of us enjoy these escapades and interactions with other humans and wildlife, and yesterday proved to be a “gift of a day” weather-wise.
Near the end of our walk I noticed a gathering across the field and decided to head that way. There was a band playing music, numerous craft tents, vendors displaying handmade arts, homemade jellies, syrups, jams, fudges, breads and pies for sale. The children were playing and everyone was enjoying goodies, hot cider or coffee.
The pups and I went happily through the event, several people stopping us to pet the dogs and wanting to know their name, breeds, ages and their homes of origin. The dogs behaved beautifully, happily being petted and fussed over, truly enjoying the folks and all the attention. Many of the attendees were fascinated to meet Toy Fox Terriers and a Miniature Pinscher for the first time. The children could not get enough of the little dogs, playful Lilliputians like themselves.
One woman stated her love for Rat terriers and told me of the antics her favorite dog did that entertained her. Another woman stopped to pet my dogs (they were bouncing and interacting with her) and she said “Are they rescue dogs?”
My response was no, they are not puppy mill dogs. She looked at me quizzically, so I explained that I lovingly purchased each of the dogs from respected breeders who are knowledgeable in their selection of canines to breed. She raised an eyebrow, so I continued, telling her good dog breeders use scientific genetic information and testing before they choose to breed their stock. She nodded, still bent over petting my dogs.
I told her “responsible breeders” choose to sterilize individual dogs who do not meet breed, health and temperament standards. Then I said something like “The breeders I bought the bitches from are wonderful, caring individuals who select purchasers for their animals as carefully as an adoption agency would seek placement for a child.”
The woman looked up, dropped her jaw and removed her hand from the 7-month-old puppy as if it was covered with a toxin.
The pup didn’t understand the gesture but promptly moved on to another person who was glad to stoke her cute little body and be covered with puppy kisses.
I gave the “offended” woman the eyeball and decided to enjoy the rest of my afternoon without attempting to educate her as to why some individuals prefer purebred dogs. I felt my words would fall on deaf ears.
This individual’s limited understanding of why people love dogs to begin with was an education for me. Did she think they have to be rescue dogs to be valuable partners in life? Is that the prevailing belief today?
I have owned many dogs in my life from different sizes, shapes, breeds, mixes of breeds. I loved them all equally. As a horsewoman, I carefully selected mates for my Morgan horses and just as carefully, I evaluated homes for them knowing what cruelty humans are capable of. But I am not just a lover of only pureblooded animals. I well know many animals need loving nurturing homes, but I certainly do appreciate the knowledge and experience of a breeder who’s goals in life are to produce the best stock available for my enjoyment.
The interlude with that lady stayed with me. It made me aware that people today seem to soak up some strange ideas off the internet. You would think their brains are as dysfunctional as the previous lady's ears. As animal lovers we have a lot to overcome what seems the “fashionable” perception that purebred dogs are inferior to rescued “mixed breeds.”
Today looks like bad weather, our walk will be limited to home area, but we cannot wait for our next adventure.
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