Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Err Is Human, To Forgive, Canine

On 30 May 2009, Lynda Goh, Vice President of Noah’s Ark, was invited to give a speech at the ‘Better Owner, Better Dog’ seminar and she shed light on the reality of pet abandonment, human animal bonding and gave a slight overview on Noah’s Ark.

Grayson Cheng fileding Q&A during the pets magazine seminar

Dr Simon Quek of Mt Pleasant Animal Centre (West Branch)

The topic of pet abandonment was also broached and we felt that it was also good to share with you, our blog readers.

Not wanting your pet any longer is already an irresponsible act on its own. Not to mention, the reasons for abandoning them. However, there are ways to rectify one’s recklessness.

There have been countless reasons for people giving up their pets. Unfortunately, these reasons are usually unjustifiable and extremely common. For example, many claim that they’re downgrading, a wife is giving birth or someone has developed asthma. Many don’t think twice about whether they will be keeping their pets for life and worse still, many others don’t wonder how their pets will survive if they were left stranded just like that. For truth is, they can’t, as domestic pets cannot fend for themselves after being sheltered their whole lives.

If you ever find yourself unable to keep your dog anymore, please don’t take the easy way out by leaving them out in the cold for they are helpless. So try your best to find it a new home, a fosterer or even a pet kennel as temporary shelter. If your dog is drastically ill, even euthanasia will be a more humane act rather than neglecting it. Your dog would rather have you there when it takes its last breath instead of having to die alone in an unfamiliar environment.

The human animal bond is still as mysterious as it is powerful. Dogs are actually powerful teaching tools for children. If they’ve grown up with dogs, chances are, they’ll grow to be more tolerant, respectful, disciplined and trusting. Not only are dogs good for children, but they can effortlessly make an elderly person’s day by keeping them company and spreading their love during animal assisted therapy.

If there’s anything one should believe in, it’s that there should always be a solution to a problem. If you suddenly find yourself too busy for your dog, giving it up should not be the first thing to cross your mind. Simple solutions such as doggie day care, occasionally hiring a pet sitter or even simple 10 minute walks with your dog will suffice and your dog will still love you with all its heart.

And what if external factors come into play? What if your child is fairing badly in exams or your maid has left and no one can tend to the dog? – Do something about it. Start being responsible and stop blaming others or even the dog, for it all boils down to disciplining your dog and acting like a proper owner.

Do remember, that there is no such thing as a problem dog, but there is such a thing as a problem owner. Hence, once you learn to become a better owner (and a better person), voila, you’ll get yourself a better dog!

To date, Noah’s Ark now shelters 800 dogs, 500 cats, 5 horses and a few small animals, mostly due to the irresponsibility and selfishness of countless human beings. So believe or not, if you stick with your dog till the very end, it will always be there for you, embracing joy with you and licking your tears away. It will always be your best friend, till it’s very last breath.

**Story contributed by Zen Law

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