Fred Ni, dog publicist...
July 13, 2013 8:52 AM   Subscribe

The dog "basically just sat in that Quebec shelter for over a year and no one looked at it... And overnight here – I post about it, 8 people show up - and it gets adopted the next day." Fred Ni, who blogs at Pound Dogs, talks with the Toronto Standard.
posted by dobbs (55 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
And, there is compassion at its finest. Good for Mr. Ni!
posted by HuronBob at 9:05 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


awesome!!!!
posted by shockingbluamp at 9:13 AM on July 13, 2013


Good for Mr. Ni! I have a shelter dog, and I WUV HIM!
posted by magstheaxe at 9:13 AM on July 13, 2013


"Ni!"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:22 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is goodness and it hurts my heart at the same time. Here's a chewbone to pups of all ages out there- may you find forever homes as quick as the paperwork can be filled out.
posted by Mooski at 9:24 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


After the disaster that was my last rescue, I'm not inclined to have another dog any time soon, but I have to say, Harmony put a significant dent in my steely resolve.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:27 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


As I read this, I have my Alaskan Husky mix, Stringer, is asleep next to me on the couch. His 2nd birthday is this weekend, and when got him from the shelter, he was nine months old and had seen nothing but the insides of various cages and runs. This boggled my mind, he was a sweet, energetic beast, who was a bit mouthy, but was a cuddler from the minute I sat down next to him on the floor and he tucked his nose into my armpit and sat in my lap. This isn't to say he hasn't been a bit of a chore on occasion: I still haven't replaced the vinyl records he destroyed, or the rug he tore in half. My ears are still ringing from his phobia of bridges we discovered when we drove across the country a few weeks ago. But with my wife out of town last night he slept on the bed with me, snuffling in my ear when it was time to wake up and take a long walk in the woods, where when we first got him, he ran with insects for the first time and decided it was the best thing ever and looked at me with pure joy in his big, doofy, dog grin. Sleeping with him under the New Mexico stars listening to his happy dog sighs made me love one of my favorite places all over again.

All this is to say, as Dan Bern put it: Some of my best friends have been dogs, and that sounds like a cliché, until it happens to you. This man is doing good work. I'd say he's doing God's work, but what is God to a dog, if not a beloved owner?
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:37 AM on July 13, 2013 [27 favorites]


I hope this happens in many other communities.
posted by Mack Twain at 9:53 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fred is one of my favorite bloggers. His old blog, One Bark at a Time is also excellent, and was written much more in his voice, including personal stories and fiction and a lot of other good stuff. When he shut that down and started focus on Pound Dogs, I'll admit I was disappointed at first. And I do miss his stories, but he's definitely turned his talents toward doing the maximum amount of good.

He has a rare talent for capturing the character of each individual dog, and showcasing them in a way that can help people really get to know and care about them. I already have three dogs and am in the wrong country and everything, so adopting one is out of the question for me, but I've gotten pretty personally invested in more than a couple of the dogs he's featured.

I wish every shelter had a Fred.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:54 AM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


We've been reading Fred's blogs for a while. Another thing that makes them effective at getting these dogs adopted is that he's a good photographer. And a good photo of a shelter dog, versus what you usually find on a shelter website, makes a huge difference. The portraits here where Fred is a dog walker really show you the dog's personality and stand out from every other shelter site which tend to be full of thumbnails of sad dogs behind a fence.
posted by thecjm at 9:59 AM on July 13, 2013


OMG, Harmony is calling to me ...
posted by thinkpiece at 10:24 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fred is awesome. I recommend reading his post and follow-up on Beth, the old Great Dane. Fred had lost his Great Dane, Stella not too long before this post, and he writes beautifully about the feeling of wanting to help but knowing that he's not emotionally ready for a task like that.
posted by stefanie at 10:28 AM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh geez. I just read Fred's posts about the last days of Stella, his Great Dane, at the previous blog (mentioned above). Very hard to read. But the one with Stella watching a bee is damn cute. And she's got these magnificent ears. For flying, surely.

A similar project is the Adorable Adoptables Tumblr, a project by MeFi's own unsub. Wonderful efforts! And also difficult.
posted by Glinn at 10:30 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


GIMME ALL THE DOGS!

This is a wonderful thing. Thank you, Fred Ni, for being wonderful friend to these pups.
posted by darksong at 11:05 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's doing good work.

if I had a choice between walking or being carried around by a giant ten times my size, I might go for the giant.

I would too.
posted by arcticseal at 11:06 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The internet has potential as a great tool for animal rescue. My current foster dog, Meli, is on a week trial right now with a family who saw an ad I posted on Craigslist.

Good photography is incredibly important for animal rescue on social networks. I really feel for the organizers of my rescue when the foster parent submits terrible phone photos with tacky bejeweled frames for the web site.

If you're a photographer looking for a volunteer activity - consider helping local rescues and/or shelters photograph their dogs.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Fantastic idea and story, thanks for the post.
posted by yerfatma at 1:03 PM on July 13, 2013


Except for my Pit Bull, all of my dogs have been shelter dogs. (Zoe was almost a shelter dog, we picked her up just hours before she was to be surrendered.)

The hardest one was Murphy, who was taken from us by a horribly aggressive course of epilepsy in spite of the best efforts of his vets. We suspect that's why he ended up at the pound to begin with. We only had him for 9 months when he passed. We still miss him. Whiskey Jack was an "accidental dog", adopted a few months after we lost our Murphy. Went out for iguana vitamins, came home with a dog. The Humane Society was at our pet supply store, and so was Jack, and it was love at first sight. He passed last year at the age of 11 from liver cancer, we had 8 hilarious years with him.

We adopted Rocky, a Boxer/Husky/Shepherd mix in October of 2011 when he was just a teeny baby doggie of 8 weeks (he will be 2 in two weeks), and Zoe followed in August of 2012 (she turned a year on St. Patrick's Day, our little Irish Pibble Princess). They are inseparable. And rowdy as hell. And I love them with everything I have, and I'm glad their previous people gave them up, because I got some really wonderful mutton-heads to follow me around the house and mooch for cheese, to hog up my bed, and to try to take showers with me (or pull me out, depending on the dog).

I am grateful for the work Fred Ni does, because that means that other puppies are getting a better chance to find a forever home with someone who loves the hell out of them and only wants them to hang out, be dogs, and be happy.
posted by MissySedai at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm gonna be the thread curmudgeon here and say that this project of Mr. Ni's and even the reactions on this thread are further examples of the disturbing trend of dog-fetishism and dog-anthropomorphizing that has overtaken America and indeed a lot of Western society over the past 15 or 20 years.

My family always had dogs growing up and we loved them to an appropriate degree as kids. They were generally work dogs at least partially, either sheep dogs when we raised sheep or labradors that functioned as general purpose farm animal defense in the rural and predator heavy areas where we lived.

So I am not a dog hater by any means but am perhaps one of the few people on MeFi who grew up with dogs that were still fulfilling their real purpose, which is companionship AND utility, something like intelligent, loving tools. That is what dogs were created by humans to be. To me the use of words like 'adopt' and 'foster' in the context of dogs is really strange. But it sure is common.

My going theory is that the overall trend is fueled by the delayed parenting of my generation, and the increasing number of people who aren't having children at all; dogs are for many people replacements for the children they have not had and perhaps will never have. I am not sure how harmful this anthropomorphizing actually is (other than potentially contributing to disastrously falling birth rates) but it is disturbing nevertheless for reasons I can't entirely put my finger on. Is it because people in our society generally have a lot more sympathy/empathy/open affection for dogs than for their fellow humans?

It's very nearly a cliche to point out that dog fetishists care more about a sick puppy than a homeless person, but it's also certainly true. Is that something we should worry about?
posted by jackbrown at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is a good place to link, once again, to Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, who takes in shelter kittens too young for adoption and raises them to an appropriate age, socializes them to get along well with humans and other cats, gets them spayed/neutered, and finds homes for them.
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm gonna be the thread curmudgeon here

Wow, you weren't kidding.

What is it with you people who have to pitch a fit about what other people are paying attention to at any given moment, because it's not what you think they should be paying attention to right this instant?

People who care about homeless people can care about dogs, too. Simultaneously, even! But the topic of this thread? Is dogs. If you want to talk about homeless people, why don't you make an FPP about homeless people, instead of trying to get people in this thread to stop talking about dogs and implying that they don't care about homeless people?

Your approach? Sucks.
posted by MissySedai at 1:55 PM on July 13, 2013 [21 favorites]


dogs that were still fulfilling their real purpose, which is companionship AND utility

It's always nice to hear from someone who has facts in hand.

dog fetishists care more about a sick puppy than a homeless person

Even if your false dilemma were accurate, why is someone obligated to care about anyone? Why do we have to care more about one sentient being over the other in your made-up scenario? You stopped trying to have an honest discussion the second you said "fetishist". This guy saw a problem near him and did what he could to solve it. The fact it happened to involve dogs shouldn't matter— can't we just be happy someone decided to get off their ass and do something? Bitch about couch potatoes who can't even be bothered to care about dogs if you're looking to burn a straw man. If you're going to get mad about this you better get mad about everything.
posted by yerfatma at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's very nearly a cliche to point out that dog fetishists care more about a sick puppy than a homeless person, but it's also certainly true.

This is so far from 'certainly true'. On the spectrum of true to false, I'd say this is sitting at a point very near to 'things someone just made up right now'.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:59 PM on July 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


dog-anthropomorphizing that has overtaken America and indeed a lot of Western society over the past 15 or 20 years

Not that this deserves a response, but since you're awakening us to hard truths here, stop and consider the time period you're describing also covers some real changes in social structure and family dynamics. Not everybody has a nuclear family anymore, not everyone was raised in a healthy family with two loving parents. If someone can patch a huge hole like that by bringing a dog into their house, I really don't care how much they baby talk the mutt.

And people didn't have social media and an always-on camera up until a few years ago. At some point maybe we'll do something with the combination other than post pictures of pets, but I'll take the same cat meme 100x over an ill-considered wall of text.
posted by yerfatma at 2:03 PM on July 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am not sure how harmful this anthropomorphizing actually is (other than potentially contributing to disastrously falling birth rates)

Good news! There are no such "disastrously falling birth rates." The human population is growing exponentially. Disastrously so.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


I am not sure how harmful this anthropomorphizing actually is (other than potentially contributing to disastrously falling birth rates)

Disastrously? I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding you. It would seem to be doing future generations a favor if there wasn't so much competition for resources and so many other deleterious effects of human overpopulation for them to cope with. But I'm not sure to what degree the ownership of pets factors into this.

Anyway, I was reading something along these lines yesterday, here it be.
posted by lucien at 2:14 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am not sure how harmful this anthropomorphizing actually is (other than potentially contributing to disastrously falling birth rates)

Have you ever tried to actually play poker with some dogs? You're all like "WOW A ROYAL FLUSH" and the dogs just sit there and smell your crotch. 100% unsatisfying.
posted by mintcake! at 2:20 PM on July 13, 2013 [11 favorites]


[Folks, is this really the thread you want to be having? ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:21 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fred Ni is doing some good work blogging about those shelter dogs. More power to him, and to anyone who adopts a pet from a shelter.

As long as folks are plugging their favorite animal rescue organizations, I'm going to link to Tenth Life, a local group in St. Louis that rescues and finds homes for cats, with a special emphasis on felines with special needs. They've used social media, particularly Facebook, very effectively to publicize both their cause in general and specific cats up for adoption, like the dapper Lincoln, the Formerly Quadriplegic Miracle Kitty.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 2:36 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually didn't feel like I was pitching a fit or saying anything hugely inappropriate in my above post. MeFi threads are usually about discussion (polite discussion when possible) and not just monotonous mutual agreement.

The view that dogs fill a hole in a lot of people's lives seems true; my point was that that hole is I think a very particular thing, which is our culture's (meaning I suppose middle class white American culture and everyone else who drifts along on that particular current), our culture's postponement or abandonment of child rearing.

I am curious if other people share that assessment of the reason for the fetishizing of dogs in 'our' culture. I certainly would not expect most people who clicked on this particular FPP to agree with my mild sense that there is something WRONG with that fetishizing.

Yerfatma: our obligation to care about others is the basis of all moral and ethical systems and of human society so I am sure you really meant something else when you asked it.

I would stand by the idea that falling birth rates are disastrous; look at the poor Italians and Greeks. But that's probably a discussion for a different thread.
posted by jackbrown at 2:59 PM on July 13, 2013


Having had to put our kitty to sleep today (she was 20 years old), this post made me tear up. I am happy that dog found a home.

Jackbrown, maybe this isn't the thread for you.
posted by Windigo at 3:02 PM on July 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


Aw, Windigo, I'm so sorry. I hope you'll feel better soon, it's really hard when the fuzzbutts leave us.
posted by MissySedai at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2013


I have a pound dog (calling them 'rescues' always felt a bit self aggrandizing) who is with me most of the time. I think JackBrown raises some interesting points as do those responding to them. Windigo, while I feel for your loss, these feelings don't entitle you to arbitrate which ideas are unfit for a given thread. JackBrown - I hope you don't feel bullied by the strong responses and I encourage you to research and post on what is surely a rich vein for discourse.
posted by astrobiophysican at 3:22 PM on July 13, 2013


When we decided to adopt our first dog many years ago, we chose adoption over buying a purebred from a breeder, in no small part at the suggestion of MeFites who posted comments in dog ownership threads advocating adoption.
Since then, our other dogs have all been pound dogs, and I can't imagine loving them more, so I am grateful to MeFites for advocating adoption.

So I'll just return the favor with this comment: If you are considering becoming a dog parent, please at least consider adoption from a local pound. Make several trips to a local shelter and get to know the prospective dogs. These aren't the types of dogs you'll see represented at dog shows; sure, some are purebreeds, but most are just humble mixes waiting for love and you won't know they're out there until you look. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that your new companion is a pup you haven't imagined yet.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:25 PM on July 13, 2013


these feelings don't entitle you to arbitrate which ideas are unfit for a given thread.
posted by astrobiophysican


When they are a total derail of the topic at hand, I can very well suggest perhaps this is a poor choice of thread for the poster.

When we move next spring to an apartment that allows dogs, I will be getting one. I have desperately wanted a dog for years now, and it will almost certainly be a pound dog.
posted by Windigo at 3:28 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't find it surprising that most dogs are no longer work dogs.

Most dog owners no longer live in rural areas where they do agricultural tasks like livestock herding or subsistence hunting.

I suppose that some people might have expected dogs to become less prominent in American domestic life as life becomes more industrial (and even post-industrial) and less agricultural. But it's equally OK that this isn't the case, and that we've adapted the role of dogs to fit modern society.

(Written by the proud owner of a lab mix who hates water and does not understand this "fetching" concept you speak of. He's clearly much more at home in Los Angeles than on any farm.)
posted by Sara C. at 3:32 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Written by the proud owner of a lab mix who hates water and does not understand this "fetching" concept you speak of.

OMG. My Murphy was OK with baths, but he was NOT a fan of other water. The first time we took him to the lake, he took one look and dragged me back up the beach to the car, nope nope noping all the way.
posted by MissySedai at 3:43 PM on July 13, 2013


My next-door neighbor is moving to the country soon and hopes to get a dog after the move. My pound dog adores him and he wants a companion dog just like her (she's a mystery mix), but he insists he'll go to a breeder for a purebred. People do this for various reasons, of course. But when I asked why, he said, "I want to know where my dog comes from."

But most of us don't really know where we come from, really. The identity of my great-grandfather is a mystery my grandmother took to her grave. Those of us who aren't royalty can't trace our heritage in indelible ink. I don't think pedigree for the sake of pedigree is a good enough reason.

This is a good reminder for me to send him down the road to the shelter and hope for a good match for him. The neighbor's a bit of a recluse with a troubled past, and lucien's marvelous link above establishes why a companion animal may create an important bridge.
posted by mochapickle at 3:44 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first time we took him to the lake, he took one look and dragged me back up the beach to the car, nope nope noping all the way.

Alvy is OK with visiting the beach, but he will be staying up on the dry sand, thankyouverymuch. You are welcome to get into the water, to which his reaction is watching you with a look of mild concern on his face.

I tried luring him to the wet sand with treats, so that we could run along the beach together. No dice. He prefers keeping a safe distance from anything damp more than he prefers beef jerky.

I would actually love to see him out on a lake with some duck hunters. A bird would fall into the water and he'd look at the hunter like, "Well, you gonna go get that or what?"

I will never believe that dogs are innately happier as "working" dogs. I don't think there's anything wrong with that if it's an option for you and suits your dog, but really, my "working" breed is 100% happy to just hang out at my place and sleep in the sunny spot on the floor.
posted by Sara C. at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2013


My third shelter animal, second dog, says hi to everyone in the thread, and is happy that I somehow manage to care about him and my kids at the same time.
posted by davejay at 4:22 PM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Did you guys know that DNA testing recently let us know that the Pekingese is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence? It's one of the 14 ancient breeds of dog and is more closely related to wolves than your neighbor's lab or Shetland sheep dog.

What's also really interesting about the Pekingese is that it has never had a working role, and was bred only for companionship!

In other words, ain't nothing new under the sun, son.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:45 PM on July 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


My little dog is a rescue. She is my bestest friend. I Got her from a lady who found her in a sealed cardboard box in the middle of a very busy city street, Not knowing what was in the box and fearful someone would hit it and cause a wreck, she dodged cars and carried it to the side of the road. Inside was a sweet 7 yr old Chihuahua, Calm as could be, The lady couldn't keep her and was on the way to the Humane Society when I saw her in the parking lot and she told me the story. I have a cat and was in NO F CKI G way gonna take a dog...but

It has been 3 years now and cat and dog are BFF. She loves women and girls. Shy around men bigger than me, and nervous around kids, she hates, HATES squirrels,,,they are the bane to her very soul. Loves bacon and bread and popcorn,
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:54 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will never believe that dogs are innately happier as "working" dogs.

What, you don't agree that lying about, snoring and farting all day is hard work? Do you even know what kind of energy that takes? ;)

Zoe is very much a working dog. Like every other Pit Bull I've ever met, she takes the role of Kisser of Faces and Watcher of Children very, very seriously. Little ones that visit my house get a redheaded shadow for the duration, she will put herself between them and stairs, them and the old and cranky cat, them and whatever she has decided they need not get into. She has not been trained to do this, it's just What She Does. And if you're silly enough to sit still when she's in I Kiss You mode, you get 75 pounds on dog on your lap, meticulously washing your face and ears.

I have the cleanest face in 88 counties. The only way she could possibly happier is if I turned her loose at a school.
posted by MissySedai at 4:56 PM on July 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


I will never believe that dogs are innately happier as "working" dogs.

Well, it depends on the breed, obviously. Retrievers were basically bred for walkies, with occasional fetch. No big whoop.

But shepherds or (non-toy) terriers? Those things need something to do at all times, are consequently more than most people can handle, and very often end up in shelters because of it.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:41 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


My third shelter animal, second dog, says hi to everyone in the thread, and is happy that I somehow manage to care about him and my kids at the same time.

Rocky is the result of some serious puppy face from Younger Monster. I was looking at an older Pit Bull. He was looking at the tiny 4 pound baby doggie. He won. (So did Rocky!) They love each other so much!
posted by MissySedai at 5:50 PM on July 13, 2013


I'm always kind of shocked when I see people who have negative impressions of mutts or shelter dogs, and I have this compulsion to argue with them to win them over.

But I've done work in pit bull advocacy, and I often felt like I was just preaching to the choir. People don't hold prejudices for logical reasons. More often than not, it's out of fear and unfamiliarity. My pit bull mix* has probably changed more opinions with pure charisma and gentleness than I could ever do with words. Someone who has an image in their head of something unsavory isn't likely to change that based on logic. The best bet is to just show them what they're really talking about.

I've always sort of suspected Fred came to a similar conclusion in focusing his energy profiling pound dogs. Arguments are abstract. The dogs themselves are what we're talking about, and they themselves are the best rebuttal to prejudice.

Just: Here. Here are the dogs at the pound. Look! They're not all dirty and ugly and defective. They're all different, and they're all pretty great in their own ways, and you can almost always find just the right dog for you at your local used dog store, so come on in!

* More accurately, my short-haired muscular mixed breed shelter dog with a fivehead. I have no idea what breeds she actually is, but that's what most people assume she is.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:57 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Where I live, we have true working cattle and sheep dogs--you can't imagine the happy on a dog's face when they are doing when they were born and bred to do. Their work ethic is incredible.

I've had numerous good 'pound hounds,' and all my Kelpies, Heelers, and Border Collies were surrenders with bad reps--working dogs that were kept in a situation where they didn't have an outlet for their energy. There are always working dogs in the Humane Society and no-kill shelters here, because people get them and expect them to be couch potatoes.

My current red Heeler seldom gets to work on cattle, but she is a great chicken herder and follows for miles and miles behind the horse when I ride. Her job is keeping riders together, especially when you spread out on a long ride, (six of us did fifteen miles this morning.) Spice is busy back and forth keeping everyone in sight and working to keep us together. I've been told it's cruel to take a dog on a long ride like this, but Spice doesn't appear to think so. I carry water, snacks and a ice cooling collar for when it's this hot. Spice dives into every creek, nasty green cow pond, or water trough we pass and occasionally rolls in cow poo. The cruelty part comes when she gets a bath afterwards and all that lovely perfume goes away.

I see working dogs and how they can be trained to be so incredibly useful, and I can understand what jackbrown is saying about fetishism. I can't imagine my dog with a $65 zirconium studded collar or a $200 jacket, or my dyeing a dog to match an outfit I wear. I figure if the owner wants to pay or do that, then fine, it's their money. My re-purposed halter straps for a collar and cut down sweatshirt for winter doesn't mean I care less for my dog. I show my love for my dog by training her and teaching her how to be a good canine citizen. Dogs need training more than they need designer clothes.

There are so many dogs surrendered to the pound because they're not fit for civilization. They've been spoiled to the point they're horrible to be around. Eventually, even the owner that 'just loves Baby Mitzy to death' gives her 'kissy-kisses' and lets her sleep on the bed will get sick of Mitzy yapping, peeing on the carpet, chewing, jumping up, etc. etc. When I picked up my Spicy from the pound, there was a Baby Mitzy with a bushel basket full of expensive dog clothes, toys, and designer leashes and collars to go with her to her new owner. She just didn't have any manners to go with it. Even worse when it's a H U G H Chocolate Lab male that really needs to be nutless, and knocks down people or yanks their arms out on a leash. That's a dog that's hard to find a home for.

We have a great program in Boise that sends dogs like this to the Idaho State Penitentiary for inmate training. The dogs are marvelous to be around after being through the program, and they are instantly adopted even though they're expensive compared to the untrained dogs. It's a new lease on life for these animals, and a program like this makes it much more likely they will be kept with a forever owner. But there are more dogs needing this program than can be serviced. I can't understand an owner that will pay $125 for dog clothes, but won't pay for training or take the dog to an obedience class.

The last dog I found a home for was left on the road in front of the house and was not my type of dog. I advertised him for $75, and made a note in the Craigslist ad that I would refund the money if the new owners would bring me proof that they signed the dog up for a basic training class and bought the dog a crate. They took me up on it. :)
posted by BlueHorse at 6:24 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, it depends on the breed, obviously.

That's why I used the word "innately".

I'm sure there are some dogs in some living situations where more stimulation is important in order to keep the peace. But I'll never buy that bullshit troll "dogs belong on farms and not in people's houses" garbage.
posted by Sara C. at 8:34 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


We have a great program in Boise that sends dogs like this to the Idaho State Penitentiary for inmate training.

We have a similar program here in Lucas County (OH), thanks to the efforts of our new Dog Warden, and this program has saved the lives of so many Pit Bulls, Rotties, and German Shepherds - dogs that many people get for "protection", but have no capacity to to actually train. The inmates train them to be good and loyal family members, and there is even a waiting list for them now. Given that our old Dog Warden used to just euthanize Pit Bulls out of hand, this is a bazillion percent improvement.

I can't understand an owner that will pay $125 for dog clothes, but won't pay for training or take the dog to an obedience class.

I don't get it either. A dog carries many of the same responsibilities as a child - teach it to be a good citizen (so to speak), love it, take it to the doc when it's sick, set boundaries. They are worth the effort to properly teach, and worth the effort to recognize that every dog is different. My Murphy was yellow Lab and Aussie Shepherd, and he took it upon himself to herd the cats. (Yes, really.) Drove the cats nuts, but they went along with it. And he would herd company, he really liked everyone to be in one room. Rocky, OTOH, can't be bothered with where you are, and is content to lie around and fart, look out the window, or snuggle on the couch. Zoe deeply desires clean faces and safe children and belly rubs and ear scritches. If I got frustrated with her for not being chill like Rocky, I'd have no business having dogs.

I really think people should be required to take a class before getting a dog. I'm in the midst of teaching my exchange student how to interpret my dogs' behavior, and it's kind of astonishing to me how little people know about dogs.
posted by MissySedai at 8:51 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't understand an owner that will pay $125 for dog clothes, but won't pay for training or take the dog to an obedience class.

Well, of course you understand. Our society promotes instant gratification and consumerism as redeeming values. Plus, some people bail on training as soon as they find out the owner gets trained, too.
posted by davejay at 8:54 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've had 3 shelter dogs. One was a mess due to early neglect & abuse, and the shelter should not have placed the dog with me. The other 2 were/are fantastic furry additions to my life.

I have the room and the funds to take a dog into my home, saving him or another dog from death. He repays me with affection and makes me laugh. A fair deal. I do not have the ability to take a homeless person into my home, even if a homeless person would chose to live with me. So I donate to appropriate charities, and I vote for representatives who I hope will vote in a way that supports my beliefs. Sure, some people are more vocal about their concern for dogs than their concern for people. It seems to be a highly emotional response to helplessness. Some homeless people feel helpless - helpless to get a job, helpless over alcohol or drugs, helpless against mental illness, etc. Feeling emotional about hundreds or thousands of animals being killed does not equate to lack of compassion for humans.
posted by theora55 at 9:37 AM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Well, it depends on the breed, obviously.

That's why I used the word "innately".

I'm sure there are some dogs in some living situations where more stimulation is important in order to keep the peace. But I'll never buy that bullshit troll "dogs belong on farms and not in people's houses" garbage.


1. I guess you meant universally, not innately. Innately means inborn, which breed temperaments indisputably are.

2. Dismissing that "bullshit troll" is precisely what puts millions of dogs in shelters (and crematoria) every year.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:55 AM on July 14, 2013


I just wanted to mention again: the staff at Toronto Animal Services are really excellent, from my experience.
posted by ovvl at 4:36 PM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I am not a dog hater by any means but am perhaps one of the few people on MeFi who grew up with dogs that were still fulfilling their real purpose, which is companionship AND utility, something like intelligent, loving tools. That is what dogs were created by humans to be.

So let me tell you about my father and his relationship with the canine world.

When my father was a kid, my grandfather raised coonhounds. A whole pack of them - they all lived in a pen in the back yard. They fed them any leftover table scraps from dinner, and one of my father's chores when he was a kid was taking all the scraps out to the back yard and pitching them over the fence for the dogs to eat. He may very well have had one or two dogs he liked a bit more or less than the others, but the dogs were all still just dogs, still just a pack.

Fast-forward to the 1980's; Dad is now married with two kids, and the family decides to get a dog. And we don't get a coonhound or a tough retriever - we get a fluffy, silly little cockapoo, who frequently disproves Dad's theory about how "the runts are always smart". KC can't be fed just by throwing things over the fence, he has to have proper dog food. Then that has to get upgraded to the special diet dog food because the vet said so. And then once there was the time when the vet prescribed a special diet of cooked ground beef and rice to help cope with some stomach issue - prompting Dad to observe, on a night when we'd just ordered a pizza for our dinner but he was still at the stove making the dog's meal, that "....Jesus Christ, the dog is eating better than we are tonight."

KC couldn't hunt worth a damn, he was only smart enough to learn one trick (I taught him to sniff out dog treats if you hid them somewhere on your person), he frequently got taken to a doggie parlor where he is washed and fluffed up and even gets sent home with a bow around his neck, and was in dozens of ways a far more spoiled and cosseted and wimpy dog than the ones my Dad grew up with.

And even so - by the last year of KC's life, my father had gotten so hung up on that little putz that whenever he brought KC to the vet for one of the series of "KC looks a little funky and we're worried" vet visits, Dad would get so caught up in the fear that This Would Be It that he would always end up walking into the vet's office in tears, KC in his arms, and would wail to the receptionist that "this dog is my best friend and you have to save him!" And thus, this guy who "grew up with dogs that were still fulfilling their real purpose" fell so much in love with one dog that my parents still have a whole handful of framed photos of KC scattered around their house, about 20 years after his death.

Dogs may have been "created by humans" to be working partners at first - but they very, very quickly expanded out of that category and became companions. And there are a lot of different types of companionship, and dogs are able to fill a whole hell of a lot more types of companionship than just "loving tools".

And thank goodness for that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:53 PM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


And holy shit, the first picture on that Wikipedia link for cockapoos looks just like KC.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 PM on July 16, 2013


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