Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Five Little Words We Could Do Without

Just a short little blog today to get this off my chest before I tear my hair out. These are my top five words that I think should be dropped from the animal welfare vocabulary.

DUMP - As in: Those morons "dumped" their dog at the shelter. This type of negativity just breeds negativity. As pointed out in this blog by  John Sibley most people are NOT irresponsible. Using negative connotations in respect to people and their pets poisons the minds of new staff and volunteers and perpetuates the cycle.

EUTHANASIA (and/or "putting to sleep") when used in the context of the shelter deaths of healthy animals. It's killing. Plain and simple.

STRAY - Kat Albrecht said it best "Think Lost, Not Stray".  These are lost pets. Generally being looked for by their owners. They often fall through the cracks of the system and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars when they end up in animal control facilities.  Simply changing the public perception  towards them by calling them "lost pets" would help many more make it back home.

FLUSH - This deals specifically with our volunteer work of Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. Flushing is for toilets. Not dogs. Flushing lost dogs out of the bush does not work. They can run faster than people and flushing them usually either frightens them and prolongs the search or chases them into traffic where they are killed or cause an accident.

DEPOPULATE - This still gives me nightmares. Maybe we should have  a "depopulation" of shelter directors who have so little respect for life that they can callously spew this word around like it is nothing.

There! Thank you. I feel so much better now. Any others that anyone wants to add?


  1. Depopulate makes my skin crawl.

    Not really in character with your rescue-oriented list, but I still have issues with "bitch".

  2. its not just one word. But if I could live the rest of my life without hearing.... Its just a dog and You can't save them all I would be very happy indeed.

  3. Included in that list should be "can't", as in we CAN'T achieve no kill status......

  4. "Pit" Bull. If they have not been in a rat pit or a fighting pit then they are not Pit bulls. If we want to change their "bad" reputation then we need to drop any language associating them with fighting. There are several choices we can use instead. My favorite is Bull/Terrier mix.

  5. Puppy Mill make me think of a factory where things are mass produced, which these puppies are, but they are living, feeling, loving creatures......they breathe, their heart beats, but they are "just dog" used for manufacturing to a puppy miller. Why can't we get any better laws on this?

  6. I hate "unwanted" and "broken". They sound negative, in the sense of attributing a measure of blame to the animal, and permanent, and too often that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every animal has been or has the potential to be, wanted by someone. That person just needs to be found, and sometimes it can take a while. In the meantime, the shelters and rescues should want them. If not, well, that's a problem. Actually, it's *the* problem. That's what we're up against. And "broken" suggests that their spirit is beyond repair. More often than not, they just need some time and understanding. What they don't need is to be written off as hopeless, which is what "broken" evokes to me.

    And then there's "overpopulation". I admit that when I first saw the full title of 'Redemption', I thought that Nathan was just being provocative, and it took quite a while for the implications of his argument to sink in with me, but when I reflect on the actual data and on my education in biology, I couldn't help but notice that "overpopulation" as it is commonly used often has nothing to do with it's proper dictionary definition, no more so than "euthanasia". The dictionary definition of "overpopulation" means that there are more animals (shelter pets in this case) than the habitat (available homes) can sustain. "Overpopulation" as it is commonly used means "we are going to kill these animals because it suits our purposes to do so. It is expedient, but we'll dress it up with some scientific-sounding language to make it sound legitimate to the unsuspecting."