Crazy dog lady, eyeball rolls, those judgmental looks and comments; I'm quite use to these although they are becoming less and less as we become more of a dog society. "It's for my dogs" I tell the cashier after she asked if we were having a barbecue. "Really?" she says, "geesh, your dogs eater better than I do," she tells me and they probably do. My dogs eat very simple real food and the fact is that many humans have very poor diets; not my problem if my dogs eat better than you do. But do not look down on me like some crazy person because I want good nutrition for my dogs. My dogs don't eat better than I do; although they eat very differently than I do.
Years ago dogs were dogs; most lived outside and got a pat on the head every once in a while. There were of course those who never got any attention and lived a life alone; never knowing the joy of companionship. A few lucky ones were welcomed into the home of a true dog lover. More and more people are becoming dog lovers. For those who have not yet been bitten by the dog loving bug; they don't quite understand. "I don't get it?" many say when they see people putting their dog's needs before their own. Spending hard earned money on their "dogs?" Loving dogs is more than simply saying that you love dogs; it is having known and cherished the human/canine connection. It is more than buying fancy coats, expensive beds or shiny collars. I'm talking about care and concern for our canine family.
Ahhhh family, there I've said it. Dogs are family members and if you don't think that they are then you are quite there yet. Is your dog still the "token" dog filling the "dog" spot in the family? Although they should most definitely be family members; they are not human family members and there in itself lies a big difference. They are a part of our family and as such they deserve the same love, care and respect that we give each other. It does not mean that they should pull up a chair and eat beside us at the table or wear fancy clothing. What it does mean is that they should not be considered a piece of merchandise.
I am not talking about people who plain don't like dogs or don't choose to live with dogs. (I assume they aren't reading this anyway.) I am referring to those who live with dogs but have yet to consider "the dog" as a family member. People who buy a dog because they feel the need to have a dog. Okay so they have a dog but the dog is not given the opportunity to become a family member; it remains "the dog." Sadly many dogs still live a very lonely life stuck out in a backyard; hard to believe but true. Then there are dogs who live in the house but are still considered "just the dog."
Being involved with so many dog people; I come across so many different types. I am often startled by comments made about the appearance of dogs and the insults tossed by those who would call themselves dog lovers. If you love dogs; you love dogs. I think the biggest thing when you are a dog lover is that you have a deep appreciation of others and their canine/human connection. You "get it." It's not about what breed or mix, its about "the dog." You may not choose to live with a pocket pooch or giant slobbering monster of a dog but you can view them with admiration because they are dogs. A dog is a dog; to their very core they are all dogs. It is we humans who have designed the difference in their exterior but inside they are all dogs.
Loving dogs does not factor on a number; you do not need a bunch of them to be a true dog lover. You can have one tiny little 5 lb munchkin who you consider to be a family member. Perhaps you do have a good number of dogs; but do you consider them to be family members? It is all about what you do with your dogs; the care and love that is given that means you are a dog lover. It is not the size of the dog, the color or texture of their coat or where they came from that makes one better than another. They are all dogs.
To never get to know your dog's very personal uniqueness is a very sad thing. We are a society of people who want; many think they want a dog but have no desire to truly add a dog to their family.As my husband always says "if you're going to do it, do it right." I could not say it better myself.