Responsible Dog Ownership
Dogs are amazing, and owning one is a privilege. Not to mention, it comes with a load of responsibilities and requires a lifelong commitment. There’s more to owning a dog than just taking them out for a walk, praising them with treats, and giving them cuddles.
The basic requirements to owning a dog are time and patience. Dogs are often surrendered because their human(s) can’t make time for them, such as welcoming a new baby or making sudden lifestyle changes, or simply not having the time to take care of them. Dogs are often abandoned because their human(s) don’t have the patience to work through unanticipated behavioral changes. Even the sweetest of pups will somehow end up in a shelter just because an owner can no longer make time for him/her.
This past weekend, we got to visit one of our favorite dog rescues to deliver some warm hugs and cozy blankets (courtesy of our friends at Earth Rated). Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue (QBSDR) is a rescue dedicated to saving special needs corgis and corgi mixes. They’re located in California, and their rescue facility has a lot of space for the pups to run around. QBSDR puts in a tremendous amount of time and patience into rehabilitating their dogs. Many of the pups that comes into their care have been surrendered or abandoned due to sudden complications (medical and/or behavioral). QBSDR works to rehabilitate their rescue pups medically, manage their behaviors through training, and methodically screen prospective owners for the right forever home. To see all the dogs under their care, please go here: QBSDR Dogs.
These dogs and all shelter pups out there just want to love and be loved in return. I was able to spend some quality time photographing and giving cuddles to a few of these sweet stumpers, as well as inquiring about their stories (i.e., Why was he surrendered? How did he come to QBSDR?). Most of the pups rescued under QBSDR share a similar story; they had owners who no longer needed or wanted to care for them.
Having a dog isn’t supposed to be an easy walk in the park; having a dog is a big responsibility! If there are more responsible dog owners out there, there wouldn’t be so many abandoned pups in shelters and rescues. If you are thinking of getting a puppy or an older dog, really take the time to consider if you have the time and patience for one (starting point: Getting a Puppy).
What does it take to be a responsible dog owner? Here are a few requirements:
Commit to a Dog’s Lifetime
Know that, for better or for worse, you need to be committed to your dog for its entire lifetime. They’re not inanimate objects or a fad that can easily be tossed aside. They need to be a top priority. Take the time to understand your dog and tend to their needs, they need you to be there for them. All dogs deserve a loving home to live their lives to the fullest. No dogs deserve to be left behind.
Train Your Dog
Training a dog doesn’t end when they transition out of puppyhood. An older dog needs just as much training as a puppy does. Teaching your dog proper canine etiquette and keeping a consistent training routine will help benefit you and your dog in the long run. You want to teach your dog to close a door? Then put in the time to work on training your dog. It's a lot of fun and it's a great bonding experience. Training never ends.
Respect Your Dog and Others
Be mindful and respectful to other people’s space, as well as other dogs’ spaces. Some people don’t like dogs, and we can’t force them to like ours. There are dogs out there that don’t like it when a new dog enters their space; notice the signs and be respectful of them. Don’t force interaction with your dog and others. Also, please pick up your dog's poop. Carry an Earth Rated poop bag with you, poop fairies don't exist.
Keep Your Dog Healthy
It’s important to you, as a responsible and committed owner, to take care of your dog’s health. This includes mental, physical, and dietary health. Visit the vet annually to make sure your dog is living a healthy and happy life. Part of being a responsible dog owner is taking good care of your dog and making sure they're able to be their optimal best.
Do Not Be a Backyard Breeder or Support one
There are a lot of dogs in shelter and rescues already; some are on death row due to overcrowded shelters. No-kill dog shelters can only take in so many dogs. It is up to you, the individual, to not contribute to this. If you get a dog and think s/he is the cutest thing ever that you want to “breed” them, think again. Breeding dogs is not a hobby and it should not be treated as such.
In the end, it is up to us as individuals to be a positive force in this universe. Dogs are amazing and they deserve to be loved wholeheartedly. The best thing you, as a dog parent, can do is be there for them. I know that no matter how tired I am, I will gladly wake up at 2AM and walk down 4 flights of stairs just to take Cooper out to potty in the cold. They will love you unconditionally and that should be reciprocated.
This post was in collaboration with Earth Rated for their Spread Love blanket campaign. A huge thank you to Earth Rated for their wonderful blanket contribution to Queen's Best Stumpy Dog Rescue. Now all the pups there will have a new cozy blanket to keep warm while they go through their rehabilitation and wait for their forever home. If you can, please consider donating to Queen's Best Stumpy Dog Rescue (tax deductible), they have a couple of pups that need the funds for their medical bills. And they have a few sweet stumpers that are up for adoption! Share their stories and spread the love. Thank you to QBSDR for letting us visit! Also, if you have a favorite shelter and would like Earth Rated to send them a case of blankets, you can nominate them here by March 2nd. All opinions and photos are my own.