July 30, 2009

Book Review: Don't Dump The Dog

Don’t Dump The Dog
Outrageous Stories and Simple Solutions to Your Worst Dog Behavior Problems
By Randy Grim

Book Review by Ines de Pablo

July 30, 2009

Get your copy here

Hi all! Skyhorse Publishing contacted me to write a book review about a book called “Don’t Dump The Dog” a couple of weeks ago. The book arrived at my office on July 29 and by the end of the day I had read the whole thing! What a great book! It took me about 2 hours to finish it, mostly because I was laughing so much! Randy Grim did an outstanding job covering the most outrageous reasons why people dump their dogs. As outrageous has the reasons may be, Randy’s responses, solutions and reasoning is nothing short of priceless!

Wagn4u have been on Twitter since January of 2009. Sometime earlier this year I found a post via Twitter related to this issue. It’s a Shelter Rant by a shelter manager that first appeared on Craig’s List and was making the rounds. A copy can be found here. When I first read this rant I felt that someone finally has the courage to say it like it is. The reality is raw. So is the rant.
Randy Grim does cover all of the same issues. The stories he uses to back up his arguments are hilarious – in a serious kind of way. If you don’t get the message, you just don’t GET IT!

I have to admit that the one excuse that aggravates me THE MOST is the “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat) because the new building doesn’t accept pets”. If something gets me MAD that would be the one. No Wag’N about it!

Pets have issues. People have issues. That’s part of the package. We are not born knowing the answers to all problems. We learn. That’s life. If you don’t have the solution to your pet’s behavioral issue, seek help…not abandonment! There is no “secret farm the shelter will send your relinquished pet to”! Shelter life is horrible!

One of my favorite lessons learned and fantastic ideas offered in this book is in Chapter 1: A.D.D. Dogs.
An owner contacts Randy wanting to relinquish his dog because of hyper-activity issue. The owner comes by the shelter on a day where Randy is alone at the shelter, clearly overwhelmed by work and asks the pet owner to answer the phone while he brings the “abandoned pet” to its new home – The cage. While there the owner takes many dramatic calls covering a few “real emergencies”. When the owner gets a break he drops the phone, runs back, frees his dog, gets another dog and runs out of the facility. The owner realized that the issue he deemed terrible was nothing compared to the realities shelters have to deal with. He later sent money to the shelter to thank them of the invaluable knowledge he acquired that day.
Putting things in perspective: of course letting a random person answer the answer the phone and snatch another dog isn’t perfect shelter management but abandoning a pet is completely irresponsible!

MY RECOMMENDATION: Shelters should make it mandatory for people who relinquish pets for NO good reason work at an animal shelter for at least 4 rotations. (Some of which are “having a baby”, “My dog is boring”, “my dog is no longer cute”, “my dog is old. I want a new one in exchange”, “we don’t want to put up a fence”, etc).
This recommendation, alone, is however insufficient and not all encompassing. The following addition needs to be made and is addressed to shelters, with who some of the responsibility also rely. New pet parents need to be given some tools by the shelter/breeder to help them in this adventure. We are not asking shelters to provide training. However I could conceive that a local dog trainer could teach some classes at their local shelter every so often. Who knows…maybe some of the proceeds could go to the shelter. Otherwise use referrals. Another great non expensive venue would be a blog for all those who adopt from that facility to post their questions, experiences, solutions, etc. Some monitoring would be required but all you need once its up is a flyer providing the information.
Randy recommends shelters provide tips on what to expect. Spay and neuter workshops are another option.

Chapter 12 is another one of my favorites as I am going to start teaching safety around dogs to kids this fall. Interpreting how the dog feels when you do something that you (kid) consider normal and sweet can save your child and your pet. No doubt about it. Humans have a tendency to project on others what they deem logical to them should be logical to the dog. You are dealing with a completely different RACE so please read this chapter carefully. Your best intentions can do harm. Teach your kids to think like a dog. Understand the dog as it is. Once you start viewing the world in the dogs eyes, things will make more sense. If you don’t believe me, get on your knees and walk around. Have an adult stand up straight in front of you and have him/her speak at different tones, approach you at different speeds, play a foreign movie super loud in a language you don’t understand and maybe toss you some food. If you feel very courageous try some kibble…ickyboo!

You need to read this book if
- This is your first pets adoption – regardless of where you get it from
- Your pet drives you up the wall and the thought of relinquishing it creeps in
- Your significant other asks you to give it up
- You know someone that is about to do something crazy
- A new human child comes into the picture and you have doubts about the pet
- Your kids and the pet have issues (then you might want to jump to chapter 12: Scaredy Cat)
- Your dog has dominance issues with you and on and off leash
- Your dogs barks at everything.
- You get a former stray dog that is super shy
- You wonder whether or not to spay or neuter
- Your dog has “bladder control issues” in the house
- You didn’t realize that more than 27,000 animals are destroyed every DAY in this country
- You think there is such a thing as a “secret farm” where the shelter will send your pet
- You feel like reading a fantastic book
All chapters are worth reading!

When we human make mistakes – including some pretty bad one like DUIs, assault, battery etc - we get a fine, a lecture, maybe some jail time. If a dog bites a human it pays with it life. Most incidents are our fault! We didn’t see it coming. We didn’t bother to train it as a puppy because it was so damn cute at the time. We can’t understand what warning they are giving us. They talk to us all the time! Open your mind and your heart to make our lives with them better and spare them from abandonment.
If that’s not enough, consider this. Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you. Treat you fellow being like you would want to be treated! These furry guys have a heart beat, lungs, livers, kidneys, eyes, ears, stomach, brains and feelings. Pain and Death suck for all!

If you had a human child, and you HAD to move, would you pick a building that doesn’t allow kids? And yes these types of facilities, hotels and BNB do exist! If you answer yes… let’s just say now would be a good time to get off this site and seek counseling! Common sense, morale, basic intelligence and reason would dictate that you wouldn’t just dump the kid! That makes sense right? It’s your kid. Whether it was planned for or not it’s a life that depends on you. It’s your flesh and blood! Not a vacuum cleaner! So why in the world wouldn’t you extend the same courtesy to a furry, four legged (or 2 legged if bird) creature from a different race than yours? THAT’S ACTUALLY RACIST (Human beings being a race and all)

Wag’N Enterprises was created to promote Responsible pet ownerships. When do you make the decision to adopt an animal you automatically become responsible for it for all of its life, through sickness and in health. Pets are fantastic. If you cannot make a 15 year commitment you probably should think about getting married and you should definitely not get a pet in the first place. Puppies are super cute. A well trained adult dog is fantastic and super cute. Pets are like children. The consequences of not raising and training your four legged friend will make themselves obvious. But like with the child, it will be your fault. Abandoning that responsibility is like blaming everyone else for your lack of commitment. Not Cool! Humans and dogs have been partners since before mortgages, economies, cell phones, apartments, condos, the internet, mirrors, pubs, artificial deadlines and all those things we consider our normal way of life. You DO have time to walk, exercise, play and train that animal.
Read this book. Be responsible. Keep your family, loved ones and neighbors safe. Keep your pets Wag’N!

EXTRA NOTE: Not 20 minutes have past since I post this review, randomly check twitter feeds and see this freaking article
I love firefighters. They save lives. That one though....is on my "You Know What" list!

1 comment:

  1. New pet parents need to be given some tools by the shelter/breeder to help them in this adventure.This should mandatory for pet's parent thanks for this recommendation. My recommendation would if anyone's dog has first aid emergency you can visit gotoaid.com.