Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Are your dogs treated better than people?

I've often had people jokingly comment that my dogs are treated better than most people. And the fact of the matter is yes, at times they are. I treat people the way they deserve to be treated.

Why are dogs special? Dogs, and pets in general, remind us that relationships do not have to be complicated. Simple concepts like love, empathy and respect are lost in our day-to-day interactions with others, but our pets bring us back to reality and show us just how simple it can be.

Dogs just want to love you, no matter what you look like. When you are angry, stressed, moody or anxious, they are there to offer their love. When you are happy, all they want is to share your joy. When you are sad, they lick your tears away. All they ask for in return is food, water and the pleasure of your company. Dogs who are abused or neglected act out in many ways, either with anger or through destruction. 

People, on the hand, are more complex. They will pick on any physical characteristic that deviates from "perfection". We are constantly judged, and often rejected, based on our looks, our body types, our clothes, our hair, our "titles" or status in society, and all other aspects of our being. We deal with family members, friends, acquaintances and strangers that gripe, grump, complain, demand money and disrespect us. How many people do you know that love unconditionally? I bet you can count them on one hand. How many people disrespect you and then expect money or other items from you? How many people just take and never give of themselves? I could go on and on but I think you get the point. 

Have you ever come home from a bad day at work stressed to the max and are greeted at the door by your pet's wagging tail, wiggling body and the sheer joy they exhibit at your arrival home? At that point, your heart melts and all the stress from the day washes away as you greet your four-legged friend.

The only demands your pet ever makes on you is for pats, cuddles and snuggling. And, of course, the occasional treat. They don't call you names, criticize you, expect money for nothing, insist on bigger and better toys because the dog next door got one, refuse to be seen in public with you because you embarrass them in front of other dogs, greet your family with disdain, or refuse to associate with you or others. Their emotions are pure, honest and positive, and they are not afraid to show them to you.

So you know, you get treated the way you treat others. And my dogs have nothing but love for us as well as anyone who comes to our home. So yes...I treat them well. I treat good people well too. And anyone who disrespects us? Don't even bother stepping foot through the door.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dog Food and "People Food" - Is there a difference now?

I'm seeing a lot of commercials for dog food that now offer beef, vegetables and sometimes, a bit of rice. For example, look at

Now when I last took Bruiser to the vet when he was sick, she asked what he was eating. "Is he still eating 'people food' like meat and vegetables?" She says "people food" with the same sort of disgust as if you were talking about feeding them human flesh. I lied...just dog food. Hmm, she says, pleased. So if I said "dog food" and was referring to the Proplan, what is the difference? The only difference I can see is that I actually know where my meat and vegetables are coming from. And that's my brother-in-law's farm where his cattle are free range and the soil where the vegetables are grown have never seen a chemical of any kind.

Coincidentally, this vet just happens to sell a certain brand of dry dog food as well as this company's wet food. I did buy the wet food, on the vet's recommendation, one time. I opened the can and the food looked like day-old puke that was sitting in the sun. But I dutifully put it on a plate and the dogs came to sniff it. Both turned their noses up and never returned. I threw out the plate after a day and half of no interest and donated the remaining cans to a shelter.

So the question becomes whether or not vets are actually interested in the health of your beloved pets, or is making a buck by peddling a certain company's food the ultimate goal?