DEAR PAW’S CORNER:
Twice this year already, I’ve had dogs left on the doorstep of my farmhouse, including a new litter of puppies. People must assume that my few acres are perfect to let these dogs roam free, when in fact this is a working farm with little extra time for taking care of other people’s pets. Sadly, I’ve had to take most of these dogs to the local shelter. Can you remind readers that pets are not simply problems that can be dumped when the going gets tough? — Shirley in Putney, Vt.
Pet abandonment, especially of dogs, has become much more common in these difficult economic times. But that doesn’t excuse the act. Abandoned pets are exposed to all sorts of dangers from both nature and man. Dogs are not wolves — they do not thrive in the wild. Dogs have developed a symbiotic relationship with humans, meaning they rely on us for food and care. They’re also devoted pack animals, so when they are left by the side of the road — essentially kicked out of their pack — the psychological damage is devastating. An abandoned dog, even if lucky enough to be adopted by someone else, is never the same dog that was left behind. If you’re going through tough times economically and caring for your pet is straining your finances, don’t go it alone. Tell someone you’re having trouble — a family member, your pet’s veterinarian, a friend. Contact the local Humane Society (or your shelter) and ask for advice. There are low-cost pet care resources available in most communities. If the dog’s behavior is a problem, there are also resources available. Pick up “Don’t Dump the Dog: Outrageous Stories and Simple Solutions to Your Worst Dog Behavior Problems” by Randy Grim (Sky Horse Publishing), who founded a rescue center for stray dogs. Don’t just give up on your companion.
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. © 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.