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In praise of cuddly toys!

Sometimes I feel as if I am banging my head against a brick wall. How many times do I have to say this before people will listen:

Do not take a puppy or a dog of any age, in fact, if you are not willing to put in any effort to its training. This applies whether you have bought a puppy from a breeder (grrr) or adopted a dog from the SPA or another refuge. If you are not willing to put in time and maybe even attend dog training school, then it is better for both you and the dog if you buy a cuddly toy.

To my huge disappointment, today saw the return of Habbie, the pedigree chocolate labrador who was adopted eleven days ago. The first and only indication that anything was wrong came by email two nights ago. Before I had time to reply to give advice (yes, even I like a couple of hours off if possible), another email had arrived to say that “the dog” was being returned today (between last night and this morning Habbie had lost her name). No advice (most notably to visit a dog trainer) was welcomed, despite my efforts to persuade them to contact a trainer (whose number I provided), for what are nothing other than usual puppy problems.

So just like that, this dog who is under a year old and has already had several owners due to NO FAULT OF HER OWN (divorce, house move and lack of patience in that order) is back at the refuge.

Even before she had been dumped (that is the only word I can use), another dog was abandoned. This time it was one of the cocktail litter, Mojito who had been adopted two weeks ago, and whose brother, Bronx, left yesterday. He was adopted when he was ten weeks old, so his behaviour cannot be any different from that of any other puppy! The owner freely admitted that she was not watching her child when the puppy supposedly “bit” him, and of course puppies of all ages nibble (cos that is what this was) until they are taught not to. And in any case you should never ever leave a child and a dog together unsupervised.

There is a page on this site entitled “Adoption Guidelines”. This explains some of what you should expect when you adopt a dog. Please read this page before deciding to adopt. It causes dogs enormous upheaval to be adopted and brought back to the refuge. They don’t understand what they have done wrong (especially when they are just being dogs!). And I am fed up with this constant refrain of “but I am scared for my child’s safety”. Decent training and discipline of both children and dogs can stop the two coming into conflict. If you are not willing to put in any effort, get a teddy bear.

Finally remember that like people, all dogs are different. Don’t go online and decide that you want a dog of a certain breed because they are “always gentle and obedient”. Each dog has its own personality, a bit like children, in many respects.

And there are some lovely looking teddy bears out there.

Habbie is back
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So is Mojito

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This may suit both families better. Meet Edward Bear!

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About Darcey Dyson

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