Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | August 26, 2009

Responsible Pet Parenting

Pet Column readers have been asking what promoting “Responsible Pet Parenting” means in the new mission statement of Second Chance Humane Society (Safeguarding Animals and Promoting Responsible Pet Parenting & the Human-Animal Bond).  It certainly is a short phrase with big implications, as responsible pet parenting involves a broad array of actions and decisions, most of which your pet can not make for him/herself. 

First let me preface with how Second Chance views its role in “Promoting Responsible Pet Parenting”.  Second Chance is not shouldering an approach of disciplinarian on the soapbox but instead hopes to offer education and encouragement to support pet parents in making the best choices for themselves, their pets, and their greater communities.  Second Chance is committed to maintaining our communities as pet-friendly and great places to be a pet parent.   

Now, there are the basic pet parenting responsibilities such as providing us with good nutrition, current vaccinations, appropriate and regular socialization and exercise, and proper training to be good mannered and safe pets in public.  But responsible pet parenting should go beyond the basics…

Second Chance feels that pet owners should consider themselves ambassadors of pets – promoting pets in a very positive light to those who do not have pets in their lives and who may even be uncomfortable around pets.  This “ambassador” approach will support a society that more fully integrates pets into daily living – as those without pets will learn to be more accepting and tolerant of well behaved pets, rather than seeing them as a nuisance. 

Thus, with this approach it is important to not turn people off to pets.  This is where it becomes very important to take extra care in following the basic responsibilities such as picking up your dog’s waste, not letting pets jump on people, and keeping pets leashed in areas where that is required.

Responsible pet parenting thus encompasses the concept that public areas where pets are allowed are a privilege and not a right.  Therefore, pet parents who ignore leash regulations in the few leash-restricted public areas that exist in our pet-friendly communities (citing varying reasons as it being their dog’s right,  or that their dogs behave better off  leash, etc.) are potentially threatening the general community’s tolerance of dogs in public areas. 

Also consider that some dogs feel very vulnerable while on a leash, and will act defensively toward other dogs that approach them, although off leash will not do so.  Thus, a dog who is leashed may not want to be approached by an unleashed dog and by not following leash restrictions you are causing challenges and upset to other dog parents as well.  If you are diligently opposed to leashing your dog, simply refrain from taking your dog to leash restricted public areas.  There are plenty of trails and open space in this region where good mannered dogs can exercise without a leash.

In a perfect world all people and dogs co-exist harmoniously, until such perfection is achieved, please accept your responsibilities as a pet parent and try to improve upon the relationships between both people and pets rather than contributing to any discord.  Ultimately this approach will reduce homeless pet issues and pets like me (my name is Orville Redenbarker, a.k.a “Popcorn”) will be in greater demand, thus spending less time in the shelter and more time with families where we belong.

Orville Reddenbarker - aka - Popcorn

Orville Reddenbarker - aka - Popcorn

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.org

Photo by Real Life Photographs.

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