Here I am – once again burning the proverbial midnight oil. I am doing some editing on a project we shot a few weeks back. It is due tomorrow, but looks like it will be done by the weekend.
I just watched the NOVA episode Dogs and More Dogs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I would like this episode, but it was more than just another look at man’s relationship to dogs… it brought up a good point that I hadn’t really thought about. It warrants comment.

It brought up the point that the largest percentage of dog euthanasia instances are performed because of behavioral problems. There are over 5 million dogs euthanized each year – are there that many ‘bad’ dogs? Nope. Actually, there are that many dog owners who got a dog that did not fit their lifestyle. Then, when the dog attempts to behave in a manner in which it was bred, and is unable to because of the owner’s lifestyle, it acts out by chewing, barking, digging etc. The solution? Kill the dog.

Example: If someone rushes out and buys an Alaskan sled dog because he thinks it fits his personal self-image of a rough, rugged, he-man and then pens him up in a tiny apartment with little or no exercise… of course the dog is going to go a little nutty. While Bozo the owner sits in his recliner and watches TV, the dog is chewing shoes, ripping up carpet, howling at sounds outside and generally doing anything it can to get some sort of activity.

Education could go a long way toward fixing this problem, but it is unlikely to get very far. Who is going to take responsibility for educating a new dog owner? Is the breeder of the sled dog going to tell Bozo, “No, you should get a dog better suited for you.” Not likely. Most of the breeder I have met are just below lawyers and auto mechanics on the trustworthiness scale. Is the goverment going to put forth a “get the right dog” education program? Again, not likely.

The program also pointed out that there are no breeders out there breeding for qualities that make a good pet. They breed for standards set by the kennel clubs (don’t get me started on these Nazi organizations… talk about your eugenics wars.) These ‘registered’ breeds are fraught with diseases, skin conditions, and a host of hereditary problems brought on by decades of inbreeding. Statistics have proven that health-wise, the neighbor’s Heinz 57 is much more likely to be trouble-free than any of the official breeds.

How can you do the right thing when it comes to getting a dog?

1. DO NOT buy a dog or puppy from a pet store. Dog or puppies sold at pet stores could have bad diseases (both infectious and hereditary) and the majority could come from puppy mills. Dogs from puppy mills are usually raised in extremely poor and inhumane conditions that you would NEVER want to see a dog in. Reputable breeders typically do NOT supply pet stores with animals. Reputable breeders usually only breed their dogs a couple of times a year and can usually sell their healthy dogs by themselves, through word of mouth, etc. For more about puppy mills, click here.

2. Try to adopt a dog from your local SPCA, Humane Society, or Rescue Organization. You will find both mixed breeds and purebred dogs and puppies. All of these organizations are typically very helpful and will help make sure you choose the right dog for your lifestyle. For a list of rescue groups, look here. For a list of SPCAs, look here.

3. If you insist on a purebred dog, buy only from a reputable breeder. And please DO NOT take the breeders word that they are a reputable breeder. Do some investigation and research.

Time to go… the render is done.