Friday, October 9, 2009

a real dog

I received a pet industry research report at work this week that used the phrase "a real dog" in it at a few points. The phrase stuck in my thoughts for the next few days as I dared to ponder how does one define "a real dog"?


oban

Our passion for our pets has created such a range of philosophy in the dog world....everything from what they should be eating to how to train them to what they should look like to conform to breed standards. And passionate dog owners, trainers, etc are never shy about giving their opinion (with the best of intentions) on those views. It's amazing that these creatures have created such strong feelings in us....it's one of the very reasons that our relationships with dogs has evolved in such a wonderful way. But with the sweet always comes the sour.

A real dog? Is that one of a certain size? One that wears a Halloween costume or one that doesn't? One that is purebred? One that works or one that shows? I've heard this expression,"a real dog" before...and it saddens me that some of us judge the "realness" of dog based on some pre-determined list of criteria that is agreed to upon by....who?

There are so many neglected and abused dogs...they are the ones that need our support, our intervention, our voice. The happy, go-lucky dogs of this world who have good forever families don't....no matter what kind of kibble they eat, or if they can't hold a sit-stay for a full minute or if they wear a different outfit every week or if the only papers to their name is a copy of the shelter adoption form. They don't need to be saved or spoken for on behalf of their well-being. Their owners don't need to be lectured. And neither the owner nor the dog needs to be judged. Do you know how you can spot a "real dog"? Because they are happy.

A real dog is a happy dog. A real dog loves to eat and sniff and bark and play. A real dog gets a chance, now and then, to run. A real dog has a warm, safe place where they love to sleep. A real dog is loved. And a real dog loves you back. Tell me how it gets any more real than that?

33 comments:

Mildred said...

Hi Andrea, What a great post tonight. I just took our 3 cats and Harriet (doxie) to the vet for their yearly checkups. Thankfully they all got a good report. As you know, Harriet was retired from a breeder so we are lucky that she uses her potty pads after years of living in the worst of conditions. Two of our 3 cats, were abandoned here when they were little kittens. I love each of them regardless of what they look like or what they can or can't do. They love to have a full tummy, a place to hide in a storm and they each have a favorite place to nap. Sadly, yesterday a neighbor (a juvenile court judge) told us he discovered two kittens in his yard at about the same time I found Magic. I guess there were at least three abandoned that night. He took those two to the shelter. It's hard to believe that someone would drive down a secluded street in the country where fox, coyote, and hawks are common and put out defenseless little kittens. Your photos tonight are so good. I appreciate you visiting my blog and I'm glad the RED HOTS candy brought back good memories for you. I wish you and Sophie a wonderful weekend.

The OP Pack said...

Wonderful post. The whole time we were reading it, your last paragraph was all we could think. You nailed it, happiness and love, that's how to find a real dog.

Tail wags, the OP Pack

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

What a brilliant post - and lovely photos.
And all so true.
I feel better - my dogs are real dogs!

Robynn's Ravings said...

AMEN!!! You KNOW I believe in REAL FOOD but my dogs are as real as they get! Great post, Andrea. :)

Stella said...

My Stella came from a 3 month stay in a shelter, to me and my home a year ago. I love her more every single day I have her.

There are no chance encounters!

Jo, Stella's Mom

Shirley said...

Guess that means that my Reba and Tess are real dogs!

centenniel said...

I am not a dog owner, but I know a real dog when I see one, and from what you and the others here have described, all of you definitely have the real thing.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I'm always being told that my dogs aren't real dogs because of their size. They get called cats and barking squirrels but they are all dog to me.. ok, more like my own children but certainly not like cats!
For my little house and little yard they are the perfect size. No matter what "other" people might think!

Barry said...

A real dog has the security to explore her (or his) boundaries a bit and doesn't always conform to our preconceived expectations.

Don't you Lindsay. LINDSAY!!!

Hilary said...

Well stated. I wish you and your very real dog (and family) a Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Bruce said...

If that is your definition of a real dog, then I am definitely a "real cat"! I'm with you...let's just all be Happy!
your pal,
Bruce the cat:)

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I feel the same way. We as a society are so odd in our expectations.

Watched a very sad documentary last night on all the feral cats in Canada. Made me so sad, and it also makes me angry.

But the thing to do I guess, is just dwell on all the cats and dogs that have found good homes.

And to do what I can to help out.

A wonderful post, very true.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Jen

Gennasus said...

You summed up our 'real dogs' perfectly!

L. D. Burgus said...

I agree completely. People tend to tell us how to think and believe about everything. A creature such as a dog is so special and so individually different like people that each has it's own merits. All of them if given a chance respond to love.

Erin P said...

Beautiful post. I had never heard "real dog" before...it struck me quite strange, becuase dogs are all so unique! I agree with your point of view.

My cats are all real cats--all rescue projects, all warm, relaxed and happy. (Wish we could have a dog/dogs but we're at work all day.)

The Write Girl said...

Hi Andrea,

I completely agree with your post. I've never owned a dog although one day I would like to. But I do think the most important criteria is that the dog is happy and loved. And I love reading about you and Sophie and how much you learn from one another. It's a beautiful relationship.

Jeanne said...

I know mine are real dogs because they leave real poop in the yard -- mostly under the clothesline. I think Old Dog (who is NOT a real dog) has trained them to do that, because he knows that will make me "honeydip" the yard instead of leaving it for him to do when he cuts the grass.

SGR said...

Woof! As always LOVE reading your post. I am a sweet and happy golden retriever dog. Today is my 1st year blog anniversary and just want to thank you for your friendship. Lots of Golden Thanks. Hope to hear from you. Woof! Sugar

Kathy said...

How true Andrea, our "real dogs" are so lucky compared to the neglected and abused dogs in the world.

Just Linda said...

I found my way over here from Jane's space. What attracted me to this post was the photo - I also have a (mostly) border collie that I adore. I swear he is the BEST dog in the world. Sure, like every pet owner does not say that.
Anyway, loved your post and I will be back

Jan said...

I love the picture of Sophie with her tongue hanging out. My cats are all "real cats". All rescue cats. All FOUR of them!

Scout 'n Freyja said...

Our momma says that a "real dog" is any dog that creates love and passion within the heart of his or her person. It doesn't matter about breed or size or age or color. Real dogs are the dogs that leave this earth with their people wanting just one more day...

Yes, there are many, thousands, of real dogs waiting for their chance at shelters all over the world. We are shelter dogs and we are real!

Misty Dawn said...

Fantastic post.
A real dog is one that loves it's humans unconditionally without question.
If they do not judge or question us, who are we to judge or question their 'realness'?
All three of my dogs are pure bred Border Collies... HOWEVER all three of my pure bred Border Collies are RESCUES. All I know is they run to greet me when I get home from work, they crawl up in my lap to give me kisses on the nose or to rest their head on my shoulder for a hug, and they never cease to brighten my mood... that is more "real" than anything.

Annie said...

A real dog accepts you for who you are, no questions asked. And every day greets you at the door with a smile and a wag and then at night follows you to bed to lay faithfully at your feet. Nope, it does not get more real or better than that!

Lose That Girl said...

A real dog turns your life upside down but you wouldn't trade her for anything.

I love you, Zoey Bean.... my Schipperke monster puppy! :)

Lovely post, Andrea.... and your photos, as always, are so fitting & beautiful.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Well said Andrea. I just wish that there were as many "real people" as their are real dogs..life would be so much better:)

Mildred said...

Hi Andrea, If you have time, my Wed. Words post today is about my niece and her rescue dog. He was found tied to a tree with no water/food in the summer in S. GA. She has had him for many years now and I am so happy to see him looking so content! Thought you would enjoy. Thanks!

Samantha ~ Holly and Zac ~ said...

I love your last paragraph and your photo's. :-)

Ben said...

My Momma says - only real people see the real dog...but every dog sees the real in people.

Bordershot said...

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The pictures, the storys.
Here is one more award for you!
Visit my blog. ;o)

T said...

Excellent post, as always!!!

Oz Girl said...

Wonderful analysis of that term, "real dog". I agree wholeheartedly with your final summary, Andrea! And... great photos as always!! :)

Hope you and Sophie are doing well, and staying warm.

Tatersmama said...

That common, easily tossed around phrase "real dog" bothers me. We ALL deserve to be loved for who we are, rather than for just what we look like, or based on what "criteria" we meet.
Am I - or you - or anyone else - less worthy, because we don't always fit societies 'norms"?
Love, or the potential for love, is all that counts.

What a great post, my friend... :-)
xoxox