PRINCETON — As Joe Turner remembers it, “a switch turned off” in Emma when she was 2 years old. Suddenly his once-rambunctious black English Lab calmed down, her eager, friendly disposition taking on a decidedly placid air. She still liked to lie in the snow and go swimming, but something was…
I laughed out loud when I saw this photo, but it did get me thinking. While I’m sure my dogs love me, I’m equally sure that a great part of their love is due to the fact that I provide them food and shelter.
In a way, this is what I like best about dogs: their common sense. If only we humans could follow their example. I don’t mind that my dogs think I look like a tasty meatball. In fact, I wish more people in my life thought so, too.
This two-part video is rather extraordinary. Puppies are trained as service dogs by prisoners. Then the service dogs are matched with veterans suffering from PTSD.
Watching the prisoners train their dogs, it’s clear to see that it’s the prisoners who are being trained, and reconnected to their humanity. The veteran in this story also begins his journey of healing once his dog, Faith, arrives.
Dogs have a unique ability to facilitate profound personal transformations in us, and I wish there were even more avenues of connection between dogs and the people who need them.
Big brands certainly appreciate the power of a cute dog to sell their cars, beer, and chips. VW, Sketchers, Bud Light and Doritos all used dogs in their Super Bowl ads, but Bud Light won my heart-if not my choice of beer. The dog in the spot “Weego” was a rescue—a nod to the countless people and volunteers involved in animal rescue. For every “like” on Bud Light’s Facebook page the brand will also donate $1 to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. According to the ASPCA, “Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats).” Responsible advertisers can make a huge difference to the lives of these animals, and in the case of Bud Light, they did.
Skechers, on the other hand, chose to show a spot that included Greyhound racing—a sore spot with many who work in the dog rescue arena. Yes, there was a cute French Bulldog, Quiggly, that performed the moonwalk, but it hardly compensated for the lack of sensitivity the the many problems endemic in dog racing. There were protests in San Diego outside a Skechers store, PETA sent out an alert, bloggers were mad, very mad, Animal Planet wrote a thoughtful piece, and 122,319 people signed a petitition to Boycott Skechers. Skechers, apparently, has no fear of alienating 78 million U.S. dog owners.
We all know dogs are cute, and for those of us who have dogs, we consider them family. But a huge gap exists for those dogs who end up in rescue shelters to face certain death if not adopted. At the very least, brands who use dogs to sell their wares should depict rescues in a positive light, and show some sensitivity to the many serious issues surrounding dog racing.
I’m not a Skechers buyer, but if I were, I certainly would never buy that brand. What about you?
This video just made me smile. There are beautiful show dogs, agility, dancing, and the song from singer/songwriter, Will Young, is simply lovely.
Failure in the show ring and on the agility course is an all too familiar experience for me.
Maybe we should try dancing?