I’m pretty thick skinned and not easily offended, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. And the other day, it happened.
Someone called the shelter that I work for and asked about one of the dogs that we have available. I gave her a little info and then she said something that we hear often enough, but it’s like a punch to the gut every time I hear it. She said “But why is that kind of dog in a shelter? That kind of dog doesn’t deserve to be in a shelter”. I couldn’t ignore it and politely said “I don’t really feel that any type of dog DESERVES to be in a shelter, but sometimes things happen and dogs end up here”. Could the caller not have meant what she said the way it came out? Possibly. But we hear this way too often.
By now, you all know that I have a “type”. I love short haired dogs with big blocky heads. But, really, though I’m drawn to that type of dog, I love all dogs. After all, I have 6 dogs and only 3 of them are big block head dogs. So, though I’m a “Pit Bull person”, in all actuality, I’m a dog person.
I’ve seen people come through the shelter, volunteers even, who say that they love dogs, but not dogs of a certain appearance or even size. I often wonder how you can say that you love dogs, but only some dogs. I can understand not wanting to adopt a certain type of dog. For instance, I don’t feel that I would keep up with a dog that needed to be brushed often and therefore would be unlikely to adopt one, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like those dogs based on that fact alone. And I would NEVER feel that a dog that requires more grooming would deserve to be in a shelter. I would never, as a shelter worker, refuse to work with those dogs based on their appearance. It goes beyond that. Years ago, a dog bit me in the face. It was a larger dog and it had no problem fitting my face in its mouth. I fully admit that I would be a bit tense when I saw those dogs for a while. But, deep down, I knew that this was an isolated incident and do not hold it against that breed and I absolutely still interact with them. Please note that even as I write this, I will not name the breed as I feel that no breed should be singled out due to the actions of one dog.
You see, as a dog person, I love dogs. I love big dogs and little dogs. I love fuzzy dogs and short haired dogs. I love brown dogs and blue dogs and black dogs and white dogs. I love spotted dogs and I love brindle dogs. I love dogs. I look forward to a day when all dogs are viewed as just dogs and we see beyond breed or appearance. More importantly, I look forward when our shelters are empty as no dog ever deserves to be in a shelter.