A World View of our Dogs…

Posted: June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

When “German Shepherd Adventures”  was launched 3 years ago, it was intended to be a small, but effective way to communicate with a small group of German Shepherd owners from Omorrow German Shepherds in Butler, Ohio, USA.  Their name sits atop every post here, and that will never change.  The owner, Rhonda Sellers, and her Omorrow bloodline German Shepherds are my inspiration, and the foundation of my blog.  Many of my early posts were of interest only to members of that specific group.  I will always think of these dear people of the Omorrow Pack when I write, looking for stories that interest them.  But in the last 6 months, my blog has seen explosive growth onto a global audience…a fact that still amazes me.  I’m not sure how this happened, but I’m thrilled for the opportunity to learn from this audience, and I am making my first foray into asking the questions that interest me…I will share these questions and answers here, and hopefully we can all learn about each other thru our dogs…

  In the United States of America, most dogs and their owners have a very committed relationship.  According to the Bloomberg Business organization, we spend $41 Billion, yes, BILLION dollars annually taking care of our pets.  That number includes other pets, but if dogs are accountable for even half of that amount, that’s approximately $20 Billion dollars!!!

“People are no longer satisfied to reward their pet in pet terms,” says Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. (APPMA). “They want to reward their pet in human terms.”  That means hotels instead of kennels, braces to fix crooked teeth, and frilly canine ball gowns. Pet owners are becoming increasingly demanding consumers who won’t put up with substandard products, unstimulating environments, or shoddy service for their animals.” – Bloomberg     

The growing willingness of owners to spare no expense for their animals has also made the outsourcing of the yucky aspects a burgeoning business. More than 350 service agencies with names such as Doody Duty, Scoopy-Poo, and Pooper Trooper have sprung up solely to relieve owners of the need even to pick up a pet’s waste in their yard by doing it for them. With annual growth nearing 50%, “the pooper scooper industry is now experiencing a lot of consolidation,” says Jacob D’Aniello of DoodyCalls, which has 20 locations nationwide.
But few parts of the business have seen as much diversification and expansion as the pet food business. As with humans, there’s a growing concern about the nutrition, taste, and even ethical standards of what goes into a pet’s stomach. Owners increasingly mirror their own preferences—for vegetarian cuisine, kosher meals, and even locally sourced food—in feeding their pets. And when things go wrong, the reaction is as explosive as if the victims were children. Consumers were outraged by a massive recall of melamine-contaminated pet food that killed or sickened thousands of U.S. cats and dogs. Because pets are now such valued members of the family, says Duane Ekedahl, president of the Pet Food Institute, “it had a higher impact than maybe it would have had 10 years ago.” – Bloomberg

Even in a very poor U.S. economic atmosphere, pets continue to be pampered and made a priority.  On the other hand, Animal shelters continue to burst at the seams with  unwanted or unhomed pets.  Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and about 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state. – Stats courtesy A.S.P.C.A

These American statistics amaze many of us.  They shock us as well…

My questions to the rest of the world are these:  How are  dogs  treated and viewed in your country?  Do  your dogs have the freedom of your home?  Do you agonize over what you feed them, wanting only the best?  Is formal training common?  Are the majority of dogs working dogs, pets, or investments?

I’m not asking for the moral implications of any of this.  My curiosity is not who or what is more important than our dogs, or how any one country is more sensible than another.  I just want to know what motivates my fellow dog-lovers around this big beautiful planet…Be thoughtful in your comments and share positive feedback…Goodness knows, Human World leaders are seemingly incapable of positive conversation, and I think we can do better…

  1. “Even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath, so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is Vanity.” — Ecclesiastes 3:19

    “Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.
    We have a higher mission–to be of service to them whenever they require it… If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” — Saint Francis of Assisi

    Interesting post, Robert.
    Good to ponder. Thanks, cmcg