Editorial: Why “Companion Animal” is Necessary and Important

One of the things that I noticed in rescue is how poignantly it illustrates the concept of distancing language. When people would get in touch with me about giving up their family pet, it was always the same. In the initial email, people would use their pet’s name to describe her. After a few weeks, that turned into “she.” Shortly after that, the beloved family friend would become “the dog.” At that point, we knew we had only a few days before the dog would be deposited at the nearest pound. If we got a message referring to the dog as “it,” we needed to act that day. We knew that the owner had now completed the psychological journey that allowed them to strip the dog of its individual merits as a living, feeling being, and had given themselves permission to discard an animal. From that point on, they could, and did, ruthlessly ignore their dog’s feelings. We saw this time after time as owners left, stonefaced, while their newly abandoned dogs whimpered and cried in their fosters’ home. Read More Editorial: Why “Companion Animal” is Necessary and Important

Dog People: It’s OK to Adopt an Easy Dog

Almost all of the most difficult, tragic dogs our rescue adopted out went to hardcore dog people. These people were my idols. I’d watch as they rearranged their lives to address their dogs’ major problems. They’d change fencing, carpeting, sleep schedules, JOBS. They would spend a decade managing a dog carefully to make sure that he was safe and as happy as he could be. Their commitment was epic, and years later, Victoria and I will still take a moment to remember how amazing it was that these people made it work by sheer force of will. Read More Dog People: It’s OK to Adopt an Easy Dog