Today’s blog post is a big “off topic”, but another issue that has come up, and that we feel needs to be addressed.
This is Willie, we call him Wiggle Butt Wilbert, and while we’ll never know for sure, we’re pretty certain that he was the victim of being dumped. It’s where someone from in town or a city drives their dog out to the country and drops them off on a quiet country road, so that they can go find a farmer that will give them a good home, or they can return to the “wild”.
I hear it ALL. THE. TIME.
I live on a farm, and folks come out and see the open space and say to me “My dog just needs to live on a farm!” Or “My dog would do SO GREAT on a farm!” That’s great, and most people are just making an innocent statement when they say it, but occasionally, a dog shows up out of nowhere on someone’s doorstep in a rural area.
I’m going to let you in on a few secrets where the dumping of dogs in the country is concerned…
First, just because your dog is active, does NOT mean that he or she would do well on a farm.
Whether a dog is active or sedentary has NO bearing on whether a dog would do well in this kind of environment. What’s a better indicator? That your dog has boundaries and impulse control. And that’s a training issue.
See, I’ve fostered dozens of dogs. And, I learned that if you don’t bother to teach them that it’s not okay to go through the trash – that they’re going to go through the trash. And if you don’t bother to provide them with a toy to chew on so that you can direct them to it instead of a shoe – that you’re going to be buying a lot of shoes. You have to be the human, the one with the frontal cortex, and the ability to reason. Dogs don’t have this, and making your dog’s lack of training someone else’s problem isn’t cool.
The second secret is that the outcome is rarely as fortunate as it was for Willie.
Willie is really lucky he found his way to my house and not someone else’s, because, well… Let’s just say that most people would not give your dog a second chance after they walked outside and saw your dog chasing their ducks. And they certainly wouldn’t be willing to just bring the dog into their home (because they are probably like me and also have 5 other dogs) until they can be adopted by someone more suitable…
Many people drop their dog off in the country thinking they couldn’t bear the thought of their dog being put to sleep in a shelter. But whether it’s to some person that’s not as nice as I am, or whether it’s to a pack of hungry coyotes, or as food for the buzzards on the side of a busy road, the reality is that what usually happens to your dog is much more unpleasant.
Finally, I want to dispel the myth that dogs are wolves at heart.
Your dog has spent its entire life being fed. In many cases it’s in a home with heat and air conditioning, or at least a dog house. There is no primal switch that flips that will cause a dumped dog to turn into a wolf overnight…and even if there was – do you know what happens to coyotes when they get caught chasing farm animals?
Domesticated dogs don’t know how to hunt for their own food, and in many cases, dumped dogs end up succumbing to exposure and/or starvation. Even if your dog was a wolf at heart, hunting in the wild is a LEARNED behavior, it’s not an instinctual behavior.
And the great irony in this situation, is that Willie is really an incredible dog.
He lives his every breath attempting to please me. His one and only fault? That his previous family didn’t bother giving him any direction. All it would have taken was a little effort on their part, and he would make an amazing family pet. I know, because I just did it, and he was one of the easiest dogs to train that I’ve ever hosted in my home.
I’m not sure what the logic or personal situation is of the person that dropped him off, but I sincerely hope they don’t get another pet. As for Willie, we’ve gotten into contact with some amazing people that will help us help him find a family that deserves him.
For more information about Wiggle Butt Wilbert’s personality and/or to apply to adopt him, please check out http://dallaspetsalive.org/adopt/adoptable-dogs/dog-profile/?id=12477912
Update: Wiggle Butt Wilbert has gone to a perfect forever home - but you can check out more adoptable pets at Dallas Pets Alive!