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?