By: Mark Westbrook
Luck is in the eye of the beholder, and I know my dog, Lucky, is lucky because he lets me hold him. In fact, Lucky loves to be held! Yep, my dog will practically fall asleep in my arms if I pick him up, and he’s a normal-sized, seventy pound lab! Small dogs are usually the type that like to be picked up, but Lucky is not like other dogs. When I set him back down he stays still waiting for me to pick him up again with eyes practically closed. My golden lab is the cutest blind, bow legged, breathing-challenged dog I know. All of these problems could have been prevented if a breeder wasn’t trying to make a profit off his existence.
He was an attempt at an AKC certified golden lab but couldn’t make the cut; when viewing his AKC papers it was apparent why he couldn’t make it. His brother was his uncle and his mom was his great aunt. How does that happen? Good question. I don’t know nor do I want to, but it should stop since it is immoral to introduce dogs into this world for profit, especially if dogs like mine have to live with the consequences. What was even worse is that my dog wasn’t even being cared for after he was discovered to be “useless”. Lucky was chained to a tree when a friend found him in front of a breeder’s house. We still paid 200 dollars for the dog just so he wouldn’t be in their possession anymore. We believe he was beaten since he growls randomly as if he feels physically threatened but there are no such actions taking place. This is a sad circumstance because it shouldn’t happen to such a good natured dog.
Breeding creates an environment where dogs have a lower quality of life because a lot of these traits that they select are bad for dogs. For instance, pugs and English bulldogs were bred to have flat faces but this hinders the dog’s breathing. In the case of my dog, the breeders were trying to keep the blood line “pure” but it backfired and created health issues for my dog. Lucky is always panting for instance. Keeping a bloodline “pure” is not what natured intended; it can be seen in the case of plants where the most diverse genes are desired. Life was meant to be a melting pot, when this idea is opposed it creates hate and resentment.
Why produce dogs as if they were a commodity anyway? Profiting from living creatures is different than an item like socks. Dogs may keep my feet warm when they lay by the couch in the winter but it doesn’t mean I throw them in the laundry basket when they’re dirty. The world has enough dogs as it is anyway. It would be wasteful, to say the least, to produce socks if there were homeless socks on the street and it’s the same issue with dogs. One walk through a pound and you’d see enough dogs to screw in a light bulb. However, most people and puppies confuse pounds with doggy jail because most think they’re in the pound for a reason. Every rescue I have met, I couldn’t tell by their behavior. In fact, there are more dogs that misbehave that aren’t from pounds than those that are. Even pit bulls! Pit bulls shouldn’t be associated with dog attacks as much as they are.
I would encourage everyone to adopt an animal. Although we found Lucky chained to a tree, I still consider him a rescue because there is no knowing what would have become of him instead. If there is one thing that I can learn from Lucky, it is optimism. One would think that he must not be happy since he has so many disabilities, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My dog owns his own deflated basketball and baby pool in our backyard and that is all he needs. I have never seen a dog frolic through the grass with such determination, grace, and sheer exuberance. He crashes every once in a while, but it doesn’t even phase him. He reacts like a bumper car and his tail keeps wagging like an antenna transmitting information. Lucky’s sense of smell is superior to other dogs. When I’m cutting carrots in the kitchen he comes from the furthest room to collect his royalties. Carrots are his favorite food after all. Not only have I learned determination from him but I’ve also learned how to treat animals. It is important to think about your animal and his or her feelings thoroughly.
Some things that are commonly forgotten: 1) they don’t like to be eaten; 2) they don’t like to be mistreated and any kind of raised voice is harmful to them because they don’t know what you’re saying; 3) Consider their comfort like their paws on hot ground, body temperature in cars and outside, and their hunger and thirst. An animal has no control over their own life, so everyone should put their pets’ needs first. It is important to care for your animal because as according to Jack Bull, “God is to humans, as humans are to animals.”