Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dogged by Canine Cuteness

A number of retirees in Beijing keep dogs as pets, probably to avoid being total empty nesters and still have a baby to spoil in the family.
Many don't bother putting the pooches on a leash, and some even carry them everywhere even though the dogs badly need to exercise their legs.
And now there are more young people in their 20s interested in having their own fido, but they haven't really thought of all the responsibilities involved.
A friend told me about a colleague in his office who keeps telling him she plans to get a dog next month.
"I love golden retrievers! And pugs too!" she exclaims in an online conversation with him.
He tried to explain to her that she probably wouldn't have enough time to look after the dog properly as she would be spending most of her time at work. However she didn't seem to care about the reality of the situation and only thinks of the dog as a play thing.
"Will it bite me? I hope not! I am so scared of dogs, especially when they get bigger," she said. Then why get a golden retriever which will grow to become a medium-sized dog. And afraid of dogs if they bite her? Why even get one?
He tried to persuade her to get a cat instead because they are low maintenance, but she already has her heart set on a dog.
One of my colleagues used to have a dog and then last year when she was working for the Beijing Olympics she was too busy to look after it and gave it away to someone else.
I also heard of another young woman who was going home from work and saw some cute puppies sold on the street. She made an impulse purchase and bought one of the dogs for 50RMB and took it home. She played with it that evening and then tried to go to sleep. But the puppy was nervous and restless being in a new environment that it kept her awake all night and she gave it away the next day.

People here don't seem to think straight or even do all the research required in looking after a dog. They are cooped up all day at home while you are at work and you have to walk them in the morning before going to work and then in the evenings for their exercise. If they are left alone, the dogs will start being destructive at home and my friend says they can develop behavioral issues because they are social animals.
Dogs are not playthings that people can dispose of or transfer on to someone else; they are living things and owners have a responsibility and commitment to look after them for the rest of the pet's lives. 
This short-term thinking is not only shocking but sad. People think they can shirk responsibility whenever they feel like it or not really have compassion for animals. 
It's not surprising there aren't more strays on the street, or perhaps they end up somewhere else? 

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