The first graphic is typical of free dog ads on Craigslist and representative of a mindset that is apparently still prevalent in large sections of the Southern United States. I’m told, “Pitbulls are a dime a dozen.” Employees at animal welfare organizations have told me, repeatedly that, “We can’t pay people to take these dogs.” It truly does seem that for some their value is too cheap to meter. However, the poster made sure to include the none-too-subtle motivator; the “threat” – “needs home or going to put asleep (sic).” One might extrapolate that the ad’s author has some awareness or belief (or hope?) that others might feel this living being nay have some value to someone <???> in cyberspace. Select dogs of this type often make incredible companions for pet owners who are responsible and sufficiently informed, especially of the societal drama that can be part and parcel of living with mini-molosser type dogs, even when they are the best behaved of dogs. In New York City and other metropolitan area, I work with clients who adore these dogs and see our role as deputizing these dogs to add immense value to clients’ lives. In so doing, we cover the dogs from the animal welfare perspective and do our part to see to the community public welfare concerns (“Is the dog living next door safe?”). Consider: If the dog in the first image was a small dog… Might there not be a possibility that it could be a match for the person the second graphic?
On the right – this graphic is representative of frequent public requests that enrage many, many people in the animal welfare world. These community members are denigrated as beyond ignorant, and barely worthy of any attention beyond their most frigid contempt. I’ve been there, myself – as a shelter volunteer, I was horrified when my consumers would return adopted animals whose fur didn’t match their home decor.
Today, these potential pet owners are still held in vehement contempt. Our view is simple: These are our neighbors and consumers – they are asking for support. In providing them with respectful, exceptional service we serve both ends of the leash and have an opportunity to respectfully educate. Far too often, consumers feel that they are subject to pontification, disregard and disrespect. Rather than contend with being made to feel unwelcome and unworthy, many opt out of adopting from animal shelters and rescue groups. Punishing the inquiries of pet hungry consumers does not motivate these consumers to save the lives of homeless animals. I’m just sayin’.
Relationships are really remarkable. Safety, dignity, empathy – all may be fostered within the boundaries of this connectedness. Crating an environment where people feel safe to explore their thoughts, feelings and motivations for pursuing pet ownership – isn’t that more practical than preparing an stage for adversity and disrespect? Consumers are very quick to discern condemnation – often feeling that they are “the other” and that they are forever cut off from being accepted (and more relevantly, respected) by animal welfare professionals. We sometimes miss opportunities – we can save lives in a variety of ways. This is especially true if we are open to expanding our interactions with people.
As part of our ongoing drive to improve our interventions and support more consumers through Canephile Pet Parenting Experiences, we are developing our website. It will have customization technology, membership sign-up, this blog, as well as other features. It will most definitely have features to make it accessible to members of the disabled community. Does anyone have an opinion about the federal guidelines that are offered to address website accessibility?