Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Chipmunk Alert is at Level Red!

I've never seen so many chipmunks as this year. They are in our downspouts, under our deck, in our window wells, everywhere. My terriers are in a frenzy. They spend hours in the yard - stalking, watching, waiting, pouncing. Score so far: Terriers 2 - Chipmunks 3459.  My dogs would rather be chipmunk hunting than anything else on earth (except perhaps eating). 

A conversation came up the other day about dogs having a "job". Dogs need to be needed. They feel better, behave better and sleep better. It is bred into them. They were domesticated for a reason. All the fancy beds and toys and clothes in the world don't replace their instincts to do their job.

Rescuing a dog doesn't mean resigning it to a life indoors on a fluffy pillow. Shelters and rescues are missing out on a whole sea of adopters by making stringent requirements of what they think is best for an animal. No barn cats or farm dogs? What? Some of the happiest animals I've seen are barn cats and farm dogs.  All those mice to manage. And a farm dog has a very full day - people to greet, chores to help with, cows to herd, rodents to chase. 

This  "indoor only policy" is going to come back to bite the shelters and rescues in the butt.  Bored, understimulated pets (dogs and cats) can develop serious behavior problems and are often returned or euthanized. Cats often have serious health issues by being grossly overweight and may develop litterbox problems as well.

Do your dog a favor - google his/her breed and find out what they were bred for - then try to incorporate some of those skills into their lives. If you're having trouble coming up with ideas check with a positive dog trainer. Use the money you would have spent on fancy toys and clothes and try one of the many fun new dog sports  or a membership at the dog park.  Your dog will thank you for it!

1 comment:

  1. Kathy....I couldn't agree with you more on the shelters and their sometimes (overly-strict) adoption rules...I have felt this way for a long time...I use to volunteer at the Milwaukee Humane Society and I could read people pretty well..and when I had a good feeling about someone adopting and then they answered ONE question will the cat be outside ever...YES...I would actually tell them to say NO..For the cat's sake of course!! I know this was probably wrong of me ~ but..I went off my instincts too!!!!