Friday, February 13, 2009

Speak! Changes Gears

I'd like to being this post with plans of a slight reset for this site. I have purposely avoided talking about myself in the first person. Instead of saying "I" visited a shelter, I'd say "we" visited a shelter. I did this because I didn't want this site to be about me. I wanted, and still want this site to be about dogs. I just felt that saying "we" all the time started to sound a little pretentious, and at times, a little dishonest to boot. So no more "we", just "me".

If you are a new visitor to this site I'd like you to know what this site is about, and what my values and beliefs are. A few months back I wrote a short essay on my personal blog that pretty much sums up my passion:

I have always felt that every creature, every species we share the planet with was put here to serve a purpose. There is a balance that exists in nature. Every creature exists because it has its own role to play in maintaining that balance. What is the role of dogs in the natural order? I have come to believe that dogs are here to be with human beings, us, that nature has uniquely intended dogs to be our companions.

Evidence exists that would suggest that wolves, from which all dogs are descended, have accompanied man as many as 15,000 years ago. The first pet wolves probably assisted their human masters with hunting and defending. Man has made pets out of all sorts of animals besides dogs. Amongst them are cats, fishes, birds, reptiles, rodents, and horses to name a few. Some even make pets out of insects. But it is the dog that has just the right combination of attributes that fit us perfectly.

Dogs possess just enough intelligence to be teachable but not so much that its needs for mental stimulation are too burdensome to reasonably provide. Dogs have a pack mentality with the capacity to accept humans as pack members and are protected and defended as such. Big dogs are strong enough to adequately defend against attackers but not so big that they require any kind of special housing. Dogs do not have special dietary needs. Dogs are genetically easy enough to breed into variations that fulfill specific needs like pulling sleds, herding livestock, or hunting rats. Nowadays, if we need an animal to provide assistance to the blind, or assist the police in catching a criminal, or detect drugs, explosives, or survivors in pile of rubble that we might not otherwise be able to find it is the dog that we turn to.

Sure, a cat can keep you company but will never protect you against an attacker. You can't pet a fish. Reptiles and birds aren't capable of thinking of you as family. You can't take a hamster or a rabbit for a walk. Don't get me started on insects. And while a dog can't plow your field or give you a ride like a horse can, a dog can still herd the horse and keep watch over it.

Dogs have been called "man's best friend" with good reason. They've earned it.

So now you know how I feel about them. Here are my specific values. I oppose the breeding of dogs and strongly encourage any potential new dog owner to consider adopting from a rescue or shelter and to not even consider a breeder. There are simply too many dogs filling too many shelters already. Overbreeding is perhaps the greatest enemy facing dogs today.

Pit Bulls have been the popular breed that the general public just love to hate and they need our protection. There is too much misinformation about them. They are subjects of far too much prejudice. They have been victimized by cruel, selfish people that only acquire one for the purposes of being a status symbol, or worse, being forced to fight.

PETA and the Humane Society of the United States are BAD. Their position on dogs rescued from fighting rings is that they are not worth the time and money to be rehabilitated and should summarily be put to death.

It is my belief that the solution to these issues first lie in education. People need to know the truth about dogs in general and Pit Bulls in particular. Misperceptions need to be changed. Let us network and educate each other and support each other. Man's Best Friend is worth crusading for, and it's a battle we can win.

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