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We have lost our way

We need to go back to basics.

I recently read an article where they were discussing the lives of the modern pet dog and how we are seeing increased illnesses and behaviour problems and I suddenly realized as our lives have become more busy and more technology focused I think we have unintentionally changed our furkids lives without them having a choice or really being prepared for this new lifestyle. Humans are now all about instant gratification, fast food, quicker downloads etc, we’ve forgotten about enjoying the steps and process to build things we don’t take the time to smell the roses.

My memory goes back to the days of Enid Blytons famous five books. I loved nothing more than to read the adventures of the famous 5 with Timmy the dog. Or The little Rascals with Petey. They spent their days full of adventure with their beloved dog. They all had such fun, playing and investigating all day long but today our lives are so different. I rarely see children playing out in the street never mind investigating in the woods. Our world has made it too unsafe for most of our children to have these adventures these days and this has trickled down to the interactions with their pets. I’m guessing here but I’m pretty sure a dog would enjoy a frolic in the garden a lot more than lieing around the house while everyone goggles over their phones or games consoles.

Today we read endless articles about never leaving a child unattended with a dog also, which is responsible advice. But what has now happened is our kids are whisked off to after schools and our dogs are either left home alone all day while the family and kids are away or they to are whisked off to day care. The time and bond those Enid Blyton kids built with Timmy the dog are rare now. When we all get home we have stuff to do, dinner to prepare, homework to be done and your poor furkid is bursting out of his seams with excitement but our busy schedules sometimes miss the obvious signs that our furkids are not happy campers.

We humans have this thing of, if we can’t give people or our dogs time, we try and replace it with gifts, in our mind we are showing them we care but in reality our time is more valuable to them. That saying of we need to be present not give presents is relative to our dogs too. Some dogs if they are lucky get a walk when you get home from work or get to attend a training class but these are not things that made attracted dogs to us when they lived as wild creatures, it was the idea that, partnering with humans could be a mutually beneficial relationship.

I think somewhere along the line we lost our way, we lost the beautiful relationship we had with our dogs in the past. I think as soon as man became aware that money could be made from dogs and set off on the path of breeding for profit we betrayed our dogs we failed on our part of the partnership we had created so long ago. I think we need to go back to basics both in life and with our relationships with our furkids. (Easier said than done I know, but acknowledgement is the first step) We need to find safe places to take our dogs and spend time WITH them, really understand them and help them know they are a treasured part of our family. Find them a job within our family to make them feel appreciated. That was the original partnership between man and dog.

The dog would help the human and in return the human would provide food and a place to rest their heads. Now I’m not saying we need to go back to not having dogs as pets or part of our families but what I am saying is we need to spend time together and really get to understand each other. Teach our dogs little chores, just like we teach our children and reward them for a job well done. I used to give a little trick class and those dogs were so chuffed when they learnt their trick and their mamma or pappa gave them a treat for a job well done. It doesn’t have to be something major, a simple trick like learning to pick up your slippers or even just going to lie down on their mat when you are greeting new friends into your home. These tricks or good manners are both rewarding for the dogs and the humans. I honestly believe if we choose a rescue dog that suits our lifestyle and we are more present with our dogs and interacted with them more regularly behaviour problems will decrease and we will have happier dogs. Choosing a dog that matches your lifestyle is much more important than what the dog looks like. As the saying goes you can’t judge a book by its cover, this goes for both people and furkids.

So let’s try and slow our lives down, our dogs are not instant noodles. Dogs are not instant happy, trained dogs. We need to invest time and guide them on how they can work together with you to be a happy family. Give your dog clear guidelines so they know what is expected of them. Switch off the tv, put down your phone and spend quality time with your dog. Understand what makes your dog happy and step up and fulfill your part of the relationship because your dog is doing their part with what little time and information you give them. A good relationship is a 2 way street, it’s our time to really show our dogs how much we appreciate them with our time.

This is good advice, for me to, as I’m reading this back I’m just as guilty, so will you take the pledge with me to help build a better relationship with your furkids ?

Sms PLEDGE to 38919 and pledge to give your dog more of your time
#petsforlife and help take care of a rescue dog at the same time. Sms costs R10

Love Tracy and the rescues