Animals aren't disposable -- pets require a loving, lifetime commitment

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“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life his love his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”

– Author unknown

Out of the mouths of babes.” That was the first thing I thought when a friend recently related to me a conversation she’d had with an 8-year-old boy.

My friend was walking a pit bull puppy she rescued and was fostering, when she came upon a nice young boy that exclaimed “what a pretty puppy” she had! They spoke for a few minutes, then the boy said she should keep her instead of trying to find another home for her, because she would have lots of pretty puppies and she could sell them for $200 each. My friend tried to explain to the child that there were far too many puppies and dogs that don’t have homes, so more of them should be “fixed” so they don’t have more babies.

The second thing I thought was that we sure have a lot of work ahead of us, trying to change the mind-set that dogs are cash cows. Animals really are thinking, feeling creatures, and they deserve our compassion.

WITH THE INCREASE in the number of people who are unemployed or underemployed, and the costs of living going up every day, many people are turning to other ways of making money – some that are certainly not humane and definitely not legal. The use of dogs as cash cows shows up when backyard breeders have litters of cute little puppies they sell to people who may or may not give them good homes, but are more likely going to use them for breeding more puppies or involving them in the dogfighting circuit.

The mama dogs usually are not fed properly or given proper veterinary care (vaccines, etc.), then are put out when the pups start eating food. The mama dogs are kicked out, abandoned, left to fend for themselves or die, even though they still were nursing and bonding with their babies.

Young children are learning this horrible practice from their parents. We must find a way to reach adults and children to teach them compassion and responsibility for all living creatures. Pets are not disposable. They require a commitment for the life of the animal.

When I went to bed one night recently, the last sound I heard was the barking of dogs, seemingly telling their families how cold they were and how good they would be if they could only come in where it was warm. They kept on – “Please, please, let me in! I am so cold!” It’s heartbreaking.

I WOKE UP a few more times in the night to the same sound – dogs barking, begging for some warmth and companionship. Part of pet ownership is providing adequate shelter to protect them from the weather. And still, some people leave their dogs out on chains or tethers, and don’t give them any shelter from the weather. Many people think that if they put a plastic igloo out in the yard, the dog will go in it, for shelter, out of the cold. You try it. There is nothing warm and cozy about a plastic shell.

A dog house needs to be big enough for the dog to stand and circle around in before he lies down. It should have a rug or blanket or at least straw for warmth and comfort. It should give him a comfortable place to sleep.

We need to spread the word about responsible pet ownership, which includes spaying or neutering animals to prevent more litters from being born, as well as the importance of vaccines and regular checkups, and simple compassion. This is not meant to be one of those Sarah McLachlan commercials that everyone turns away from – just a dose of reality and a plea for help, because most people don’t realize how big the problem is.

THERE IS MUCH that we can do. With enough community support and volunteers, we could implement a humane education program, like many other communities have done, where volunteers bring pets and information into the schools, and work directly with children to show them how important kindness and compassion really are. Knowledge is the key. When people know more, they do better.

Educating the public about how to responsibly care for animals, and to treat them with respect, kindness and empathy is a very important aspect of animal rescue work.

TRADITIONALLY, humane education has meant teaching the proper care and treatment of animals. Today, it involves much more. Humane education now includes topics that stress respect, compassion and responsibility in the treatment of all animals and people.

We believe that children taught to provide justice, kindness and mercy to animals may become more just, kind and considerate in their interaction with one another. These are life lessons that build good character. Let your local-government commissioners and board of education representatives know that this is an important topic that deserves discussion and action.

(The writer – co-owner of the Village Deli in Augusta – is the founder and president of the animal rescue group That’s What Friends Are For.)

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myfather15
55831
Points
myfather15 12/15/13 - 06:41 am
7
1
"This is not meant to be one

"This is not meant to be one of those Sarah McLachlan commercials that everyone turns away from"

If this is true, then you should NOT have included this entire paragraph:

"When I went to bed one night recently, the last sound I heard was the barking of dogs, seemingly telling their families how cold they were and how good they would be if they could only come in where it was warm. They kept on – “Please, please, let me in! I am so cold!” It’s heartbreaking."

Because......WOW!!! Tell me, how to you tell the difference in that, and a dog like my neighbor's who barks at squirrels, cats, people walking for exercise, vehicles driving by, trains and just about anything else you can think of. Every single night, when the train comes through, my neighbor's dog will actually howl at the darn thing. It sometimes gets very old.

Now, I'm person who LOVES my dog very much. Since he was brought home as a puppy, he has slept in "His bed" which is the bathroom of my master bedroom. I would NEVER allow him to stay outside overnight in sub-freezing temps. Do I think it would kill him? Nope, because it certainly doesn't kill the pesky Coyotes that are becoming a serious problem in Georgia. In Alaska, where it gets -20, it doesn't appear to kill the Wolves.

I'm also smart enough to realize, certain dogs are NOT meant to survive such conditions. You leave a short haired Chihuahua outside in Alaska and he will be an ice cube by morning. What I'm saying is that dogs are designed to survive outside, under harsh conditions. Does that mean a DOMESTIC PET, should have too? Certainly NOT!! I must agree with that. A person who takes on the responsibilty to acquire a pet, they should take care of that animal like they would THEMSELVES!!

I also don't understand people who acquire a "pet" and then tie it to a tree or porch and NEVER pay it any attention. I don't understand why they even want a dog; besides the aspect that they really like it when it was NEW. Just like a toy, sometimes people love something when it's new, but then it's gets old to them and they pay it no attention. These people should NOT acquire pets!!

Also, after 17 years of law enforcement and dealing with the community, I've seen that there are MANY people, who won't even take good care of their CHILDREN!! So, you can educate them all day long, every day and it will NOT make any difference. I'm not saying we shouldn't educate people about their pets, but don't expect a miraculous result and I wouldn't spend millions of dollars doing it. A person who doesn't possess the common sense to realize they NEED to take care of their domestic pet, probably won't do so because you give them a class!!

Now, since you appear to be a dog whisperer; maybe I could get your help. As I stated, I bring my Shepherd in every night, into the bathroom. Several nights he starts barking, waking up me, my wife and my children. I have to wake up first and tell him to hush, which he usually does. So, since he is in a warm, cozy bathroom, with a comfortable mat, what is he saying?

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 12/15/13 - 07:32 am
7
1
Thank you Ms. Barrett for the

Thank you Ms. Barrett for the work you do with your animal rescue group and I would have to agree that education on proper care and treatment for animals is much needed, taught at an early age most times produces responsible adult pet owners.

Bizkit
34190
Points
Bizkit 12/15/13 - 08:18 am
5
4
Education is right and learn

Education is right and learn what "anthropomorphic" means. Basically a delusional diatribe that equate a dog with a human. Might as well be a squirrel and a human-because it's nuts! As far as what you understand about what other people do with their pets =its none of your business. GRU was responsible and within the law with all the research efforts yet a bunch of delusional people want to just make accusations of abuse with no merit. I hope that pit bull is legal and the owner has the new insurance to be within the law-and the dog doesn't attack and kill the child.

ymnbde
10352
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ymnbde 12/15/13 - 08:39 am
5
3
it is heartbreaking, it is

that a group of rich people with views tending to the anthropomorphic won't pool their resources
and subsidize a spaying and neutering program in Augusta
that is what the dogs were actually barking

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 12/15/13 - 10:06 am
5
1
worship the creation instead of the creator

A good man cares for his animals but he doesn't worship them or treat them like people. Treated too much like people they become weak and more prone to disease. Look at their teeth. Are they designed to tear and eat meat or your soft table scraps? Animals are here to help mankind in many different ways including feeding of man and those who eat no meat have trouble getting some of the B vitamins they need. There is a balance in life and we are to worship the creator. Maybe I am the only one to notice this but those who struggle with people relationships will become over concerned about their aniamls and treat them like people. Don't let your animals take the place of good relationships with people and God. Maybe the reason you struggle with people relationships is you and not them. Some say my pets accepts me as I am or in other words; I won't change my bad traits to please others but instead I will keep them and just have pets as my friends. God wants us at our best and that will include being a blessing to people and also the animals dependent on us. What we focus on the most becomes our God and the focus of our worship.

soapy_725
43947
Points
soapy_725 12/15/13 - 10:32 am
0
0
A sickness of human priorities. The creation above the creator.
Unpublished

A sickness of human priorities. The creation above the creator.

soapy_725
43947
Points
soapy_725 12/15/13 - 10:33 am
0
0
Animals aren't disposable? Look in the meat counter idiots.
Unpublished

Animals aren't disposable? Look in the meat counter idiots.

soapy_725
43947
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soapy_725 12/15/13 - 10:34 am
1
0
For liberals and communist. Third world don't have pet issues.
Unpublished

They eat them. They eat everything. Watch Bizarre Foods.

soapy_725
43947
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soapy_725 12/15/13 - 10:35 am
0
0
Its the killing of humans that is important. Or maybe not.
Unpublished

Its the killing of humans that is important. Or maybe not.

Mrs. Peel
26
Points
Mrs. Peel 12/15/13 - 10:48 am
6
1
The most dangerous dog for

The most dangerous dog for biting is the unsocialized, untrained dog. Dogs on chains are more likely to bite than those on leashes. Mixed breeds are more likely to bite than purebreds. According to statistics on number of bites, the most dangerous biter is the Dachshund. Next are the Chihuahua, Jack Russell Terrier, Shih Tzu, Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, Beagle, and, believe it or not, Dalmatians. Australian Shepherds are higher on the list than Pit Bulls. When I was growing up German Shepherd were the "dangerous" dogs that people pulled their kids away from. Then came Chow Chows, then the Dobermans and Rottweilers, and now Pit Bulls are getting the bad rap. There are no "bad" dogs. Big dog bites get more attention, but a small dog can rip your face, put out your eye, destroy your fingers. ANY dog CAN be dangerous, but a well-trained and socialized dog is unlikely to bite UNLESS provoked. This can be a child playing rough with a dog or someone threatening its owner. Education about how to approach, treat, and behave around dogs can make a world of difference between a "good" dog and a "bad" one.

ken8375309
1755
Points
ken8375309 12/15/13 - 11:08 am
4
3
Pit Bulls deserve the bad

Pit Bulls deserve the bad rap.. Who in their right mind would own a dog that is known to viciously attack and kill adults and children. I saw on the news this morning, yet another owner mauled to death by their own Pit. A 41 year old woman.. A few weeks before, a 25 year old girl in NC killed by her boyfriends two "gentle" family pits..

itsanotherday1
46735
Points
itsanotherday1 12/15/13 - 12:02 pm
7
2
Amen Ken! Make all the

Amen Ken! Make all the excuses you want about "it ain't the dog it is the owner"; when pit bulls attack, they kill. All breeds will have their biters, but few have the power and determination of a Pit to do damage when they go bad. Ever hear of an Australian Shepherd killing somebody? A Dalmation, Chihuahua, Jack Russell Terrier, Shih Tzu, Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, Beagle, Lab, Retriever, Bird Dog, Walker Hound, etc.? Yep, every breed out there will and have bitten people; but Pits have the capacity and will to kill.

itsanotherday1
46735
Points
itsanotherday1 12/15/13 - 12:22 pm
4
1
Nope..., not true.

"Animals really are thinking" Not in the sense of human reasoning.

However, I do heartily agree with the writer about our responsibilities to take care of animals we've voluntarily taken into our custody. I watch a lot of nature and animal shows and it sickens me to see the disgusting conditions some people have their so called pets in. How do you chain and starve a dog until the hip bones are about to burst through the skin?

Considering that irresponsible pet ownership affects us all, I'm all for regulation to protect me from them.

Rather than investing more in animal shelters, would we be better off in the long run to require pets to be spayed/ neutered and offer a subsidy at local shelters to have that done?
Obviously, there would be enforcement issues, but if you could get people to at least think about it, overpopulation should diminish.

Unless you are a licensed breeder, GET THEM FIXED!! Your pet will live longer and healthier on average.

nocnoc
46955
Points
nocnoc 12/15/13 - 02:17 pm
4
0
MS. Barrett - Thank you for your Article

I have mixed feelings about this whole cause and the process use to expose perceived problems.

My problem is an always with the People make a living off Animal cruelty on BOTH side to the issue.

We hear in LOUD speeches about all the faults of those accused.
All too many times we see Blitz Keg Media, eye witness news events followed by the usual checklist, demands, Protests, more demands, threats and sometimes destructive acts. All used to capitalize on the Animals situation for what seems donations 1st and 2nd the animals problem.

Then when donations drop off, we get to see the gruesome TV Ad videos of abandoned animals, and animal testing so upsetting to many we switch the channel. All used to outrage viewers and collect on increase $$$$ Donations $$$.

Some of the ads should have a WARNING DISCLAIMER ran prior to their start like we do with so many NON-PC TV Shows.

In my opinion many Animal Protective Groups are guilty of also exploiting the animals for a living and/or Profit.

When I see any accused violator hit with a massive Media smear campaign akin to Media-blackmail. I have to ask have these groups ever considered working with the accused violators to discuss the issues y'all uncover and correct the issues without the

72PT BOLD HEADLINES

?

While it may not get BIG headlines, and it may not get the donations pouring in, it would accomplish the stated goal of protecting the Animals and correcting the problem quicker.

Besides as I have pointed out previously,
I think too many of these to timely released Videos serve the group media campaign schedule more that they do the animals timely treatment.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 12/15/13 - 02:32 pm
3
1
Bizkit, please tell me where

Bizkit, please tell me where Ms. Barrett mentioned anything about anthropomorphism, GRU, or anything else but teaching people responsible pet ownership, the need for spaying and neutering our pets and the need to adopt instead of breeding?

Maybe someone needs to re-read her letter without an agenda and remove that big chip off your shoulder....not every letter written about animals is related to GRU.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 12/15/13 - 02:36 pm
2
1
ymnbde, you think the idea of

ymnbde, you think the idea of providing a warm and dry shelter for your dog, providing exercise and attention, providing physical contact and preventing unwanted breeding, is being anthropomorphic?

ymnbde
10352
Points
ymnbde 12/15/13 - 03:12 pm
3
1
imagining dogs are speaking when they bark

and that they are saying what a human would say
is anthropomorphic
"the attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being."
feeding and providing shelter and the other things you mentioned do not meet that definition.

myfather15
55831
Points
myfather15 12/15/13 - 03:23 pm
3
0
Soldout

Loved your comment. Very accurate as well. God created MANY things for us, and ALL are to be enjoyed in MODERATION. He also created consequences for those who abuse the creations. If you eat too much food, you risk becoming overweight. If you eat the same food all the time, you have nutrition problems. If you abuse alcohol, you become an alcoholic. If you smoke, you have health problems and can't breath as well.

Just about anything you can think of, if it's abused, there are negative consequences.

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 12/15/13 - 03:48 pm
1
0
Statistics

Mrs. Peel posted:

According to statistics on number of bites, the most dangerous biter is the Dachshund. Next are the Chihuahua, Jack Russell Terrier . . . .

It is meaningless to rank dog bites by number of bites. That is because there are vastly differing numbers of dogs between the differing breeds. For example, there may be a lot more dachshunds in existence than there are pit bulls.

To make the statistics meaningful, you would have to normalize the data to compare bites per thousand dogs of each breed.

And Mrs. Peel left out what was done with the bites of the mixed breeds in the list. Also, I wonder what group compiled the statistics? What is their agenda, if any?

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 12/15/13 - 03:54 pm
2
0
(ymnbde) "imagining dogs are

(ymnbde) "imagining dogs are speaking when they bark" is anthropomorphic

Well then I would suppose every pet owner would be a little anthropomorphic because most pet owner I know has always treated their pet as part of the family and most times will ask their dog questions like "you want to go outside", "you want a treat", "you want to play" when their dogs bark at them as a way to communicate. I really fail to see how treating your animal with compassion and speaking to them whether they understand or not, is being anthropomorphic. It's just loving your pet and if you have an issue with that, I sure hope you don't own a pet.

ymnbde
10352
Points
ymnbde 12/15/13 - 04:25 pm
1
0
actually, i do own a pet

a wonderful Australian Shepherd
however, he is a dog, not a human
it isn't that i don't have some measure of love for him
it's that i have much more for humans
and i own my dog and i've had many dogs and they are replaceable
and when people start thinking dogs are in any measure close to human beings, and should be loved in any proportionate measure to human beings, i think they are very immature, and i pity them
it's not that i care improperly for my dog, it's that i care properly for humans.
and that is being an emotionally healthy adult
obviously you differ

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 12/15/13 - 05:02 pm
1
0
Not at all ymnbde. I know

Not at all ymnbde. I know the difference in a dog being an animal and myself or you being a human. I saw no where in the letter writers comments that she loved her pets more than humans. I saw where she made some very good suggestion on how to be a responsible pet owner and the need to provide proper care for them. Just because she illustrated what a dog might be saying does not in anyway mean she believes dogs have human characteristics or actually speaking human language. That is just hyperbole used to insult someone's intelligence in order to make yourself look wiser and supposedly more adult. I'm afraid all it does is make you appear harsh and uncaring and rude.

"when people start thinking dogs are in any measure close to human beings, and should be loved in any proportionate measure to human beings, i think they are very immature"

This I can agree with and if this was what the letter writer was suggesting and since it was NOT what I even remotely suggested, I fail to see where we differ and we all must be emotionally healthy adults.

ymnbde
10352
Points
ymnbde 12/15/13 - 05:25 pm
2
2
my neighbor's dogs bark at night

and the "meaning" is probably the same
in cold weather as in hot
that is why i used the word "anthropomorphic"
the author ascribed meaning to the bark
based on what she would have meant if she was outside
and that is putting human qualities in things not human
i did not say that she "loved pets more than humans"
your little insult is small, indeed, and i wouldn't mention it at all
except that your screen name has Christ in it

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 12/15/13 - 07:38 pm
1
1
My little insult, ymnbde?

My little insult, ymnbde? Where? Yes, my screen name has Christ in it, what does that have to do with our conversation. I've spoken the truth and if it prodded your conscious then maybe you need to re-evaluate your attitude. Your on the defense from previous articles about GRU and alleged mistreatment of animals and automatically you assumed that this letter writer was speaking about the same thing....you jumped to conclusions and insulted the writer and when called on it you took your aim at my comment.

You said, "I did not say that she "loved pets more than humans"

That's a lie because (your quote) "it isn't that i don't have some measure of love for him it's that i have much more for humans" "and when people start thinking dogs are in any measure close to human beings, and should be loved in any proportionate measure to human beings," insinuating that the letter writer loved animals more than human and was an "anthropomorphic" and evidently she isn't "being an emotionally healthy adult". Talk about insults!

Twist your words to make them seem innocent but it's pretty evident you are guilty.

Bizkit
34190
Points
Bizkit 12/15/13 - 07:54 pm
2
0
ICL I don't have an

ICL I don't have an agenda-they do and this letter is "timely" with all the hoop-la related to animal abuse at GRU -so don't be disingenuous. I know you think I'm "harsh" but that tone isn't my intent. The greater agenda is "animal rights" and stopping animal use in research. I have two family members involved in this so I've heard all the spiel. Actually as far as natural wildlife I have been a big supporter for over 40 years, as I've said my father maintained a kennel so I've loved and cared for dogs my whole life. I do love the different breeds and their amazing abilities-especially the "sense" of smell. What we see with our eyes they see with odors. But I would never trust my child with any dog. I've had a dog turn on me, turn on another dog and kill and eat it, then back to lovin' waggin' tail happy go lucky dogs. You just never know.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 12/15/13 - 07:49 pm
1
0
ymnbde, since you want to

ymnbde, since you want to nit-pick and play with words, maybe you should go back and actually read what the writer said. You insinuated that she was "anthropomorphic".

Actually what the letter writer stated was "When I went to bed one night recently, the last sound I heard was the barking of dogs, seemingly telling their families "

The word here is "seemingly" which means "in a way that appears to have a particular quality, even though this is probably not true". Ms. Barrett is fully aware that these dogs were name actually saying they wanted in out of the cold but used this analogy to make a point. In my opinion, it would seem that anyone who does not realize this scenario was used as an example to make a point, is leaning more towards an emotionally unhealthy adult.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 12/15/13 - 07:55 pm
1
0
Bizkit, nothing was mentioned

Bizkit, nothing was mentioned in this letter about GRU or any other treatment of animals EXCEPT her request to be responsible pet owners, have your animal spayed or neutered, adopted instead of multiple breedings, and educate our children about being kind to animals. As I said to ymnbde, you guys are already on the defense and anything that has to do with animals you automatically ASSUME that they are in kahoots with previous agendas. How do you know that this letter wasn't written weeks ago and it just happened to get printed today. You are prejudging this letter writer. Read what the writer has to say without your pre-agenda in mind. What she had to say was good advice about taking care of our pets. Nothing more.

ymnbde
10352
Points
ymnbde 12/15/13 - 07:57 pm
1
0
oh my goodness ICL

oh my goodness ICL
are you in the midst of the vapors?
someone who has Christ in their screen names
should at least be truthful
i did not assume this letter was about the medical college
it has nothing to do with the medical college
you are simply wrong
she did not say that she loved pets more than humans
i did not say that she loved pets more than humans
you are simply wrong
that is two simple wrongs, and wrongs can accumulate into a lie
and the emotionally healthy adult comment wasn't directed at the letter writer
you are the one twisting words and imagining things that did not happen
inChristlove indeed

Bizkit
34190
Points
Bizkit 12/15/13 - 08:03 pm
2
0
It could be a "coincidence"

It could be a "coincidence" but I don't believe that-simply put. You don't agree fine-but that is what I "discern". This letter is as useful a McDonald's "Hot Coffee". I don't think you need to explain to people about being responsible pet owners. If so why stop with pets -how about parenting humans too. Maybe I'm being defensive-I have been wrong before. But that is my knee jerk reaction and I'm sticking with my intuition in this instance. So forgive me if we disagree. Why do yo feel the need to defend the letter writer? I don't have animosity for those who disagree-however I don't get from those who think I'm an "animal killer" and Neanderthal. I note the thumbs downs.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 12/15/13 - 08:05 pm
1
0
Continue with the denial

Continue with the denial ymnbde.......

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