Back in caveman days, we converted wolves to dogs because we had a mutual agreement that was beneficial to both of us. We were supposed to help and protect each other.
Over the past 10,000 to 15,000 years, we have evolved, yet violated this agreement. We now kill them with lethal injections in the pounds. Some use them in illegal dog-fighting for profit. Others inbreed them, often for hidden income, without caring about any health issues. And there are puppy-mills for pet shops that operate illegally.
The same mentality is destroying our planet with pollution, toxins, wiping out forests and obliterating many species of animals. But let’s stay on the topic that is the closest to home: dogs, man’s best friend.
So, after we violated our agreement, we started using our best friends for our own benefit. War dogs are a good example. Unlike our brave soldiers, dogs do not willingly sign up, and many are currently held in kennels after their retirement awaiting their permanent homes, while only the lucky ones get to live out their lives with their handlers. This is much better than leaving them behind, but they wouldn’t be in this situation if we weren’t using them as tools. No dog would like to be blown up by bombs. When trying to understand, imagine what it would be like to let your own dog walk through a minefield.
When we adopt or buy a dog, we must make a commitment to that dog for the rest of his/her life. If everybody adhered to this commitment (and if all dog-guardians spay/neuter their dogs), the kill-rate at the pound can become negligible.
The greatest contradiction is that people who say they love dogs still buy their dogs from breeders, knowing there are four million dogs getting killed in this nation annually.
It’s because, on top of greed, there’s “ego.” Like having designer handbags, they want to have designer dogs. Hence people continue buying dogs from breeders, knowing there are many beautiful dogs, even purebreds, in the pound being destroyed every day.
Why not boost their ego in different ways, such as saving lives by rescuing dogs from the pound?
Without our cave-day agreement, there would not have been creatures called dogs. Isn’t it time to feel remorseful for breaching our agreement? The least that humankind can do is to stop enabling the reproduction of more dogs for sheer profit until there’s none that will be killed in the pound.
Dogs are not tools. Dogs are not things. Dogs are not disposable. Dogs are supposed to beour best friends.
It’s not too late to rectify our breach of agreement.
Marie Atake is Founder & President of Forte Animal Rescue and a former Commissioner on the Board of L.A. Animal Services.