It is important, I think, for each of us to be open to the ideas of others.
Shifting my own opinion is a good thing.
I am certainly wrong sometimes. And my ideas are always changing.
Like everything else, the “animal world” has become a place where it’s difficult to listen.
A few people are shouting, full of strong opinions, telling others what to do.
A woman wrote on That Mutt’s Facebook page that she sees too much “abuse” posted – prong collars, shock collars, support for breeders, not enough welfare posts. I politely suggested she stop visiting my page if she found it so offensive.
I didn’t hear back. I guess she was hoping for an argument.
I consider myself a dog trainer, although not a professional, but I do not believe I know what is best for anyone else’s pet.
Many of my posts include training tips such as how to teach a dog to heel, but these are only my ideas. People should adjust them to fit their own unique situations. I’m trying to be more conscious of this. My writing is evolving.
Many of my other posts are critical of the lost and damaged animal rescue system in the United States. This is a deeply emotional topic for a lot of people.
I am critical of shelters and rescues, although I hope most individuals within these groups are trying the best they can.
What troubles me most is when a small percentage of these animal lovers turn on one another – ignoring emails, banning volunteers and even rejecting foster homes because of pride or delicate egos. This does not help the animals.
Every time I post criticism about rescues, a small group of people will comment about how rescues always know best.
Rescues should never be questioned, they seem to imply. Rescues always know best.
Is that so?
Even if the rescue has no standard procedure in place for evaluating aggressive dogs? Even if its “shelter” is not open to the public? Even if the board members can’t define their official responsibilities? Even if its volunteers allow their own dogs to fence fight with the dogs for adoption? (Talk about stressful!)
Rescue groups always know best.
I obviously choose to offer simple (and sometimes more difficult) suggestions to these organizations all the time on this blog, and most readers are excited to hear ideas. They offer their own (often much better!) suggestions. Some of my friends are involved with rescue groups, and they teach me a thing or two every now and then!
It’s only a small group of people who react defensively and take it all personally. Everything, of course, is about them.
At a national conference, one woman told me her shelter director does “retaliation killings.” If a volunteer says anything negative about the shelter, then his or her favorite animals are the first to be killed. Volunteers there are afraid to speak out and afraid to show affection to the animals. This happens, I’m afraid, more often than we realize.
Yes, our shelter system is very, very damaged.
Those who are open to ideas will join the discussions, here and elsewhere, about topics related to dog training and dog sheltering and how to obtain a dog and everything surrounding our life with animals. The majority of people will share their successes (or struggles) with others. Most of us will, at some point, change.
The rest will get lost in the arguing, I guess. That is their comfort zone, an area where they feel productive. I’m not sure what to say about people like that.
It seems every issue – from gun control to what you should feed your dog – must be divided. No room for middle ground. Civil disagreement long gone.
From the outside looking in, that world seems like such a loud, lonely space.
There is nothing useful there.
No reason to shout back.