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NYTimes essay – ‘The Wrong Dog’

I’m not sure if any of you caught the essay “The Wrong Dog” in The New York Times by Erica-Lynn Huberty.

If not, it’s something you should read.

It’s the story of a family adopting a young black Lab mix and the mistakes many of us make as “rescuers,” trainers and adopters.

“The Wrong Dog” is the kind of piece that made me go searching for more work by the writer. It made me question some of my own decisions when it comes to foster dogs and fear aggression. When is a dog adoptable? When is he too dangerous?

Not all dogs can be saved by love, and I promise you that rescue groups, trainers and other “experts” do not always know best.

If you read anything other than my blog today, read this. It takes a good 10 minutes to read and *warning*, it’s sad 🙁

Then, come back and tell me what you think because I’m dying to discuss this with somebody.

From “The Wrong Dog”:

The trainer had seen “these dogs” before, she said — dogs trucked up the East Coast, traumatized by the journey and moved from shelter to shelter. We were told to throw Cesar Millan’s advice out the window: no “calm-assertive” discipline allowed. We had, she said, inadvertently brought out Nina’s aggressiveness. From now on, it would be gentle time-outs, and treats when anyone came to the door.

Even as we followed these instructions, we questioned them. We cringed when we saw pet parents and human parents alike coddling their little monsters despite their bad behavior. Then again, who were we to argue with experts?

My black Lab mix Ace The Wrong Dog

What did you think of The Wrong Dog? Do you have any similar experiences from your own life with dogs?

Related blog posts:

When to euthanize an aggressive dog

Re-homing a pet doesn’t make you a bad pet owner

The story of my foster dog Barkley

Goodnight, sweet Blue (from Love and a Six-Foot Leash)

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