Let’s, in a trendy West Village cocktail lounge, talk about the subject that most frequently gets me heatedly debating animal rights advocates: whether it’s okay to have a dog, and if so, when and where to keep him or her.
My point of view is simple: Animals, just like children, should be socialized, loved and cuddled, not confined in cages or boxes. Some people fight to save dogs and cats from being “caged-up” at zoos and pet stores. Others – animal rights activists – argue that rescue of unwanted pets is tantamount to animal abuse.
I have a different reaction. I believe that the desire for a good companion animal can be exceeded and often exceeds what was considered “normal” for generations. And with this evolution comes loss of normalcy.
When I was a child, I didn’t see the point of having my own dog as I was brought up by a mother who didn’t truly understand and advocate for what that dog meant to me. I want the same for my kids.
As an adult, I have worked hard to learn about dog breeds. It is my belief that I was adopted by a woman who was exceptionally good at talking about dogs and educating about canine anatomy. She probably encouraged me to be intelligent about and curious about what comes with owning an animal. I learned about microchipping, tattooing, veterinary care, nutrition, there are many places where a dog could safely end up (likely anyway at a shelter or rescue or sanctuary), and there are lessons that dogs and cats teach us (such as: Nature doesn’t need reasons to be mean!).
Some people still resent my interest in dog breeds. But despite that, I have decided that I will continue to understand and appreciate these animals even though there are still people who want to dog-fight to save them.
I will say this: Sadly, many of the animals at shelters or rescues don’t make it. Not many survive until they are a few weeks old, at which point they may or may not be safe to be returned to their original owners. If a shelter doesn’t have room for them, and they are available, I want to support the effort to make room for even more animals. If I could safely rescue another dog, I would. The choice to rescue lies with the volunteer community.