I had a day off during the week, and found myself with five minutes to spare. I had a look on the forum at Pet dog Forum . There was a link there to an article by a journalist by the name of Jake Wallis Simons. In the course of the article he does raise some salient points in relation to dog ownership, as seen from the point of view of a self confessed non dog person. I believe he has already had it pointed out to him, that some of the concerns are also shared by responsible Dog Owners, some of whom queried the balance of his article.
I am a person who can’t imagine not having a dog (or several) in his life. In fact It was purely looking after my dogs, that led me to my current position. I found it difficult to grasp the concept of not liking dogs. Been afraid of them, Yes, not wanting to have the responsibility of ownership, Yes, or even indifference. But one statement in this article was “How any educated responsible human being can to choose to share his home with a dog is beyond me”.
Well Im afraid that was a little bit of the proverbial red flag. Quite aside from the joys of a dogs company and always having someone at home who is pleased to see you, there are several other benefits as an owner as well as the area of assistance dogs.
As an owner, I love having my three around my feet when Im working at my desk. When I have a hard day, they are always ready for a walk around the fields, a slide through the mud and any other smelly stuff they can find. All they ask from me is food, water, healthcare when required, and a warm place to snooze. There is only one piece of furniture in the house they are allowed on, and thats the second hand settee in the office, which yes I share with them.
I would not profess to be highly educated, but would consider myself reasonable. I clear up after them, They are only off the lead where appropriate. Most beaches near to us have areas where dogs aren’t allowed during the main holiday season. However, on my travels I have come across some very highly educated reasonable people who share their homes with assistance dogs.
Most peoples perceptions of this I guess would be those provided by Guide Dogs for the blind in the UK. Since working with dogs I have become more aware of such other organisations as Hearing Dogs For the Deaf , Dogs For The Disabled in the UK, and Dogs For Autism and  Dogs For Deaf in The USA.
These organisations, between them, train and supply dogs to work with differently abled people. Dogs for the disabled in the UK as well as Dogs for Autism in the states, have proved the benefits that can occur when a child with autism can build a relationship with a dog. Hearing dogs can alert their owners to a variety of every day occurences, as well as providing company, in the same way Guide dogs do for visually impaired people. Dogs for the disabled can train dogs with such tasks as assiting in dressing and fetching houshold items. Some of these organisations have also used dogs from rescue centres. Even If you are not a fan of dogs as pets, Please have a look at their websites.
There are also groups that use dogs in rescue situations, Newfounlands for instance in retrieving people from water. Search and Rescue dogs used to locate people in the event of both manmade and natural disasters. Police dogs used for both hunting out criminals, along with their lesser known Firarms and explosives dogs, and now more commonly known drug dogs. I have met several officers who after their dog has finished their service, has retired to live in its handlers home. One more I will mention is Pets for therapy. There are a number of groups who will train their dogs and visit Old folks homes, schools, hospices. This can assist people with their recovery,as well as helping children overcome a fear of dogs.
I could go on, but I think thats covered part of why as an educated and reasonable human being, why I enjoy sharing my home with a dog. Yes I think there needs to be a change in legislation to increase awareness and responsibilities in ownership. I would like to see every dog chipped, a reintroduction of licencing, clampdown on puppy farms, back yard breeders, an end to BSL and tougher sentences for cruelty. I think most responsible dog owners would.
So are dogs like Marmite?….to me NO….cos I love em and cant stand Marmite
Oh and Jake…If ever you are in South West Wales..feel fre to come and have a cuppa, meet and walk with my three and I will see if I can change your mind.
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