In many of the situations, it is the owners behavior that is either causing or exacerbating the problem. As the show’s brilliant dog trainer/star Cesar Milan likes to say, "I rehabilitate dogs. I train people." His advice always seems to be right on the money and maybe even just plain old common sense, but sometimes it takes an outside observer to be able to clarify the problem for the owner.
One episode I was watching recently really bothered me. In the first segment, Cesar attempts to help a married couple with two miniature pinschers. I got to admit that those dogs were probably the most hyper dogs I’ve ever seen. The couple started with one dog, Taz, and then later adopted its litter mate Vicki when the original owner moved into an apartment that didn’t allow dogs. The two dogs together were a terror. They ran from room to room jumping at the doors and windows and running roughshod over everything.
Immediately obvious to both Cesar and any viewer was that the owners needed more correcting than the dogs. The wife was deathly afraid of dogs, yet she said she always wanted to be a dog owner. Why this was I’m not sure especially after her grown daughter told stories of how the mother used her kids as a shield between her and any strange dogs. The husband said he tried using more discipline than the wife. She didn’t like to use discipline as she "didn’t want the dog to be mad at her."
Within fifteen minutes or so of working with the dogs, Cesar had both of them walking calmly on a leash. He then worked with the wife to get her to relax and be able to walk the dogs so they behaved and was somewhat successful. The wife nearly freaked out when they walked by a strange neighbor dog, but Cesar kept her steady so her fear wouldn’t upset her dogs. He explained that the dogs pick up on the energy and attitude of their owner. She had to remain calm, confident, and most importantly, in control as "leader of the pack" if she wanted her dogs to obey her.
When Cesar left, things had seemed hopeful, but at the end of the show he revealed the family had Vicki euthanized. He also explained that he had not been consulted by the family prior to the euthanasia and felt that there were still other options available for the dog had he been asked. The couple seemed to think that putting Vicki down was the answer.
The more I thought about the episode, the more my blood began to boil. In my humble opinion, you don’t euthanize a pet for any reason other than to prevent suffering. Killing an animal in the prime of its life because it’s become an inconvenience is as morally reprehensible as murder. Did these people have no regard or respect for any life other than their own? What an incredibly selfish act! Furthermore, why the hell did these people adopt a dog in the first place? The wife already knew dogs terrified her. She should have sought to overcome that fear before getting a dog.
I also have to place a lot of blame on the second dog Vicki’s original owner. When you adopt a pet, you have made a commitment to love and care for it. Moving into an apartment that doesn’t allow pets is no longer an option for you. It makes me wonder what this lady would be like as a parent. Would she get rid of her kids if she wanted to move into an adults-only community? Again, I see nothing but selfishness.
If you, my loyal blog readers, are ever thinking of adopting a pet, please realize that you are making a commitment for the life of the pet. You don’t end that life early simply because the pet has become bothersome to you. If you find yourself in a position where you absolutely, positively must find the pet a new home, then you make sure you’ve found it a home where it will be loved and cared for. You don’t just drop it off at the pound, and you certainly don’t purposely make decisions that force you to get rid of the pet like moving to an apartment where they aren’t allowed.
Pets will give you unconditional love and loyalty if you provide for them properly. They won’t be an inconvenience; they’ll be a member of your family. Just ask anyone who takes care of their pets.