Spring time arrives and with it, I hope a multitude of dog-friendly venues and events for people to participate in with their canine companions. Many thanks to the shelters, rescues and dog training clubs that host events that allow the public to bring their dogs - even though it may take extra effort and preparation.
Last weekend our flyball team played in Madison. As I put Hawk, our rat terrier, to bed on Sunday night, exhausted but happy, I couldn't help but think of all the hundreds of other flyball dogs that were crawling into their doggie beds that evening. All tired out from an exciting weekend of being with their owners, playing with their teammates and hanging out around the crating area.
And why is this so important to the plight of homeless pets everywhere? Animals that are surrendered to shelters take up spaces for animals in more dire circumstances that need them. When people make pets a part of the family, and share in events and dog sports with them, they are far less likely to surrender their dogs to animal shelters. When the public is welcome to bring their dog and socialize it with other dogs at public events, the human-dog bond is strengthened. This reduces the chances of a pet being relinquished to the backyard, day in and day out, to become a bored, barking, under-socialized dog.
Even if you're not a dog lover, community dog-friendly events are important. To repeat a phrase I heard a couple of years ago that I'll never forget - "A humane community is a safe community". Neighborhoods filled with animal lovers are safe places to live. Statistics have proven time and again that there is a direct link between violence towards animals and violence towards people.
So a sincere thank you to all the shelters, rescues and dog clubs for making our communities a safer place to live by providing dog-friendly events. Hawk, Pixie and I will see you this summer!