This popped up on my Medium recommendations and I thought it was an interesting perspective on why someone might choose not to adopt, or why someone might choose to rehome their dog and not invest huge amounts of training to make things work – both of these choices regularly receive judgment on dog owner groups, so I thought it might be a good read.
To be honest, I read it because I was curious about the title and maybe a little judgmental, but I changed my mind as I was reading it.
For me, it resonates because I chose to get a puppy partly for the reason that I could be confident it has had a great start in life, well chosen parents who have good temperaments and to some extent predictable behavioural traits. I also already had a similar dog, so I could build on what I had learned. In other words, stack the odds in my favour, in the hope that it will be an easier ride to raise her (even though there are no guarantees).
Why? We had an older (grumpy) dog and I knew curating their relationship would already be a huge job, and I know my limits when it comes to dog training – at the time I was also recovering from a bad burnout so I really didn’t have the emotional capacity to take on something that could be extra challenging. Yet there is so much judgment: I should have saved a dog, even if it would have been at the expense of my mental health and pushed me beyond my skills of dog training (which could cause major issues).
When we get a dog, we choose a companion for 10-15 years of our life – we are very careful about choosing our human life companions, yet when it comes to dogs, we should only think about saving a dog, regardless of the impact on the human’s life? A dog changes your life, and I think it should be acceptable to make choices that we think are in a positive direction for our human lives too.
There are no black and white answers here – but lots of interesting angles to discuss, and understanding to be gained. Instead of judging, we could do better by respecting the choices people make and asking “why?” to understand.