I recently had an experience that highlighted the need for spaying and neutering (and a few other things) in a bit of a round about way.
During the holidays I noticed a lost or stray dog wandering up and down our street. She spent a lot of time sitting at my neighbor’s gate. She has 4 of her own dogs but this wasn’t one of them. She also spent some time across the road making friends with the two dogs who live there through the fence. The rest of the time she spent snoozing next to my gate. She seemed to really be looking for some company.
After a couple of days I decided I needed to do something about her. Everyone who lives on our short street had driven or walked past her at some stage and hadn’t taken her home so I presumed she wasn’t from close by. I decided to take her to a near-by shelter. I then posted her photo on a local lost dog website and by the next morning she had been claimed by someone “frantically” looking for their dog but who hadn’t noticed that she’d been missing for a few days! It also turned out that this person lives a few houses away from me so must have spotted her lying outside my house.
The following morning early when I let my dogs out, there she is lying curled up outside my fence! She then spent most of the day between my house and my neighbor across the road. To give her owners the benefit of the doubt I suppose she could be an escapologist, but even so why does it take a day or two (or longer) to notice she’s gone?
She’s a small/medium mixed breed so not tiny enough to escape through small holes nor big enough to jump over walls or fences so it shouldn’t be all that difficult to dog proof their property. Surely if you care about your dog you make sure she’s safe?
In the time I spent with her I found her to have a very sweet, gentle and playful nature (definitely terriers in her ancestors!). Unfortunately I also noticed her ears were fly bitten with small sores developing, and she had flea dirt on her. Also a little on the skinny side but not too bad.
By the look of her teats I thought she’d had puppies sometime ago although she appeared to be a young dog. But it turns out her owner thinks she may be pregnant! There also happens to be an un-neutered male dog who lives around the corner and is always on the road. (his owners just leave their gates open all day!) So I think I can guess who the father of those pups is, if she is pregnant. And her owners seem to think it’s kind of “cute” that she and the roving Romeo might be having puppies?!
So in a couple of month’s time there will be yet another “unplanned” litter of puppies that may or may not find homes.
This experience highlighted a number of factors for me. Firstly some people just don’t deserve to have dogs! Especially such a sweet one as this. When you do have a dog you have the responsibility of taking care of it properly which includes things like dog proofing your property (or creating a dog proof area within the property if that’s not possible), feeding your dog good quality food, regular parasite control, and so important – neuter and spay your dogs!
Even if both these owners are too irresponsible to keep their dogs in their properties, if they had at least neutered and spayed them there wouldn’t be any more potentially homeless dogs. Not only does sterilizing your dog cut down on the potentially unwanted dog population, but also has many health benefits for both males and females.
So while this little girl wasn’t really lost – she’s certainly lost out on having a decent home and a loving family. And I would love to be able to “rescue” her from this home and find her the family she deserves, (or just keep her myself!), but unfortunately one can’t just go around removing dogs from less than perfect homes.
Have you ever found yourself in this position where you just want to grab a dog and fix all it’s problems?