Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #151

June 1, 2014: Planned Puppyhood

Yesterday I was a local dog walk volunteer. The Mat-Su Dog Walk and Roll is an annual 5-K event in which participants accompany their dogs from the Trunk Road Park and Ride parking lot to Mat-Su College and back.

It was a cold, blustery, rainy morning. There was snow on the distant peaks. I was to keep participants from walking into the roundabout area. It was good that I was stationed where I was stationed – I kept a small boy from being pulled into the road by his overly strong German shepherd.

There were 140 plus dog walkers and dogs. Dogs of varying ages, breeds, and sex were present. Some of the smaller dogs were in strollers. Others walked with the dogs in hand. Some were wearing raincoats, some were wearing packs. One poodle was wearing a pink tutu.

AK Dog an Puppy Rescue dog - Piper

I saw no scrapping amongst the dogs. These, I realized, were the lucky dogs, which are the ones who had owners who were intent on tending to their dog’s every need. Actually, in some instance there was one need that was not being met. A good number of dogs were in dire need of more outings. No matter – this day could have been the turning point for some; this day being a catalyst for the realization that they must integrate dog walking into their daily routine.

As I stood watching the dogs and people go by, I thought some about the nature of dog rescue. Dog rescue is akin to a Band-Aid on a wound that needs to be stitched. The percentage of dogs who get “rescued,” which is rehomed after being in dire straits, is miniscule compared to the numbers that each year are humanely put down or meet a worse fate. This is a huge problem. All dogs need good homes; however, rescue is only a partial solution.

The answer (as it is with humankind) is population control. Oddly enough, another volunteer, who was also doing roundabout duty, was mulling over his dog’s breeding-related future. When asked by yet another volunteer what he was going to do with his yet un-neutered dog, he said “Breed him.” His rationalization, that he had a great dog, with good bloodlines, had been further bolstered by his veterinarian.

The owner didn’t say anything when I noted that the odds were against his dog’s offspring all finding good homes. “Money,” he instead said, “this will cost money.” Right then, the other volunteer and I agreed to pay for this dog’s surgical procedure. The matter was then dropped because there were by then more immediate things to think about. The bulk of the dog walking crowd was now in our midst, and we had to get them safely past the roundabout.

I later got to thinking that this well-orchestrated event didn’t convince this very astute and smart fellow that dog over population is a problem. Instead, this affirmed his erroneous belief that all dogs end up in good homes.

Quite obviously, something was amiss here. Call it incomplete advertising if you will. What’s needed (along with walks) is a mass educational campaign, promoting spaying and neutering. This campaign would be sponsored by Planned Puppyhood. One advertising approach would be to put pictures of dogs on billboards – skinny emaciated dogs, mean dogs, funky, oddly bred dogs – all getting it on with like dogs. The message underneath would read “Think twice before you let your dog breed/breed your dog!”

I would work for, and donate money to this organization. This would beat standing out in the rain, watching a chosen few rescue dogs amble by. Seems to me to be the right thing to do.

Next: 152. 6/2/14: Horse Training: Dust in the Wind