Some people call themselves ‘animal lovers’ and maintain two or more animals. Many times, however, I can only disagree with what I see or I am told. Perhaps because, for me, the word ‘animal lover’, contains a meaning, such that cannot be matched with the behavior of such people towards animals. For example, I believe that when you see a dog and you have certain feelings for it, when this spark is created inside you, issues like, how much weight will it put on, or whether it is black, or of a good breed, or if it follows basic obedience rules and does its nasty things outside, are irrespective. And you should not expect to see any more characteristics to compare and get the best. Also, I expect it is perfectly normal to consider your dogs typical family members and maintain them into the house. Not because of the law requirements. But simply because dogs get to be cold and hot similarly to people, they need human presence and companionship, caress and touch. Just exactly as people do need these things themselves. They cannot therefore be living permanently in a garden, a courtyard, a terrace or a balcony just because the house will get messy and dirty, or because they should be ‘free’ or ‘it is simply a dog’ and it will be ‘just fine’. And this is irrespective of whether we keep them loose or tied. It is only that the second case is much worse.
Consequently, when I hear about training, I can only be angry when they tell me stories about this ‘positive training’ which included choke chains, electric collar, yelling, violent pulling of the leash, smack in the muzzle, kicks, intimidation with brooms and newspapers and finally treats… I also consider it unacceptable for someone to try to train their dog to be a guard. Such people, usually, are unable to simply realize that a training of this kind would render their dog dangerous with the highest possibilities to cause a lot of troubles. Please do not rush to criticize my exaggeration on the grounds that dogs do not suffer psychological trauma. Because I would oppose you that, phobia and aggression often observed is the result of psychological problems usually arising from human abuse!
I also believe that it is not wise to maintain animals with no parasitism ampoule and collar on them, no vaccines and annual exams for Kalazaar and Erlichia and give them bones or low quality dry food or human food to eat. It is also unwise to think that there’s no need to neuter your animal and instead wish your animal mated, because “There’ll be many out there wanting puppies”. The results of such behavior unfortunately are seen every day.
Finally, I would like to focus particularly on people who keep more animals than they can afford to and so they are unable to offer them any examinations, treatments or even vaccines.
One may ask ‘what are YOU doing about it?’ My answer would be straight away: I try to talk about it, explain, educate. Analyze obligations of the owner, welfare, positive training. Well, I usually fall on my face. Perhaps because, in Greece, most of us believe that simply owning a dog gives us automatic knowledge of all matters about it. Or maybe we are used to consider as right, old and outworn ideas that, the best they can prove is that people are often worst than animals.
My intention here is neither to make you feel uncomfortable nor tired. I would simply like to suggest you this: behave with love to your animals, touch them, share your house and heart with them, and educate yourself on what you have to do about them. I promise you that these animals themselves will reward you more and in better ways than you could ever imagine…