Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Girl And Her Dog

My pug is the love of my life. Shai Shai is my best friend and companion and even though she's my baby, she is not my child. She is an individual personality all by her little compact self and seldom has difficulty conveying her wants, needs or desires. She is manipulative, cute and adorable, while at the same time, uncomplicated. Chances are that she will never change. I like that. If someone deliberately harmed her, it would hurt me beyond belief.

Quite a few pet owners feel the same way. When you have made a true commitment to another being, be it a significant other, child or pet, your heart and soul are changed in deep and sometimes profound ways. Some people have pets because it occupies their time, they always had pets or some other superficial excuse. These are the same people, that when they move or it becomes inconvenient in any way, will dispose of the animal any way possible. From having the animal put to sleep, to giving it away, to simply abandoning it. There are those who train their animals to be vicious or they ignore and abuse them. I don't count them as being real pets, more like innocent substitutes for misplaced aggression and rage.

After Katrina, people were concerned about the pets of New Orleans and many people opened their hearts and homes to the animal refugees. Americans that didn't care about the people who were suffering, were willing to risk life and limb to save the animals. And that's sort of okay because those animals deserved to be saved. They shouldn't have been left at home to ride out the storm in the first place. How stupid do you have to be to leave a living, breathing animal when you have been given the order to evacuate? If it's dangerous for you, it is even more dangerous for them.

Retailers have been quick to jump on the animal bandwagon. From the rhinestone collars (yes, she had one) to designer clothing (a coat to keep her warm, she's black and doesn't have a double coat) to pet food and everything in between (Doggles), something is for sale. And it's almost always expensive. What people won't do for themselves, they might do for their animals.

This is one of the reasons why the pet food recall is so bad. People don't expect their animals to be suffering and dying from the food that they're being fed. The commercials make it look like you are doing the best for your pet and now it turns out that with every meal, people have been accidentally killing their best friends and companions one loving mouthful after the next. Which makes this LA Times story's timing so interesting. What is my dog's life worth? Quite a bit actually.

Would I expect to be compensated for my dog if she was harmed by a manufacturer or my neighbor? You bet I would. And handsomely. Even if you got your dog from the pound (I didn't, she cost me a thousand), there are vet bills, toys, and the ever popular food. Some people pay for obedience training and other courses for their pets. There is time, love and energy that has been devoted to these little bundles of joy and amusement. The unconditional love they give in return is almost priceless. Almost.

This pet food recall is a horrible situation for all involved, but it reflects a deeper problem with the food system. Filler not food, which goes a long way toward expanding the waistline. As ingredients are imported from other countries, we no longer have any idea what we are eating, macrobiotics and health food people will be most affected by this latest wrinkle.

An old rule of thumb for me used to be; if it couldn't be pronounced, it didn't need to be eaten. If it isn't recognizable as a a vitamin or mineral, it didn't need to be eaten. If it involved some torturous process to make it digestible, it didn't need to be eaten. The same goes for my dog. How about you?

Crossposted at If I Ran The Zoo.


  1. If given the chance, a dog will not only be your best friend, but also your most trusted ally.

    So many people buy a dog and tie it up outside, and give it a bowl of food and a pat on the head until the next day.

    Puppy mills are flooding pet stores with sick, mortified dogs who seldom receive the care they deserve.

    A dog will stick closer to you than any mate. A dog will be more loyal to you than any human friend.

    The amazing thing about dogs is to be the best friend, companion and loyal ally to you, all they require is a little bit of love.

  2. Just about the time I get to thinking that my dog Spud is almost lovable, I catch him mouthing a horse apple or draggin' a piece of deer haunch home.
    Maybe decorum is not something I should expect in a cow dog.

  3. There are advantages to having an indoor dog. On the other hand, mine slept right through the thieves stealing my picnic table off of my front porch. And it was secured by a locked cable. Not a twitch, or a woof.

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