21st-Century Dogs

What is it actually like for ancient breeds in today's world?

3 mins read
A small stuffed animal

We’ve all learned to regard social media with a gimlet eye. That said, it’s possible to encounter valuable information there, e.g., the following information about why so many healthy, young dogs with tremendous potential as companions are euthanized every day in our crowded shelters.

The writer is anonymous until we hear differently. And we add this additional caveat:

  • Poodles are perhaps the original “fabulous” dogs. Their foofy topiary coiffure originated to increase the dog’s buoyancy as it retrieved waterfowl for human hunters. Today, responsibly adopting a poodle means committing to regular trips to the groomer. If a poodle is not bathed and groomed regularly, its fantastic natural curls become matted, and these mats trap moisture and dirt against the skin and can lead to painful lesions, inviting shtank and infection. Please consider this when choosing a dog. Other long-haired and curly-haired dogs require similar coif commitment.

Here is the anonymous post:

“Everyone who is thinking of getting dogs should read this because you need to understand this reality: I am a 21st-century dog.

  • I’m a Belgian Malinois. I’m over-skilled among dogs, excel in all disciplines, and I’m always ready to work—I NEED to work. But nowadays, I get asked to chill on the couch all day, every day.
  • I am an Akita Inu. My ancestors were selected to fight bears. Today, I am asked to be tolerant and scolded for my reactivity when another approaches me.
  • I am a Beagle. When I chase my prey, I raise my voice so the hunters can follow. Today, they put an electric collar on me to shut up, and you make me come back to you—no running—with a snap of your fingers.
  • I am a Yorkshire Terrier. I was a terrifying rat-hunter in English mines. Today, they think I can’t use my legs, and they always hold me in their arms.
  • I’m a Labrador Retriever. My vision of happiness is a dive into a pond to bring back the duck he shot to my master. Today, you forget I’m a walking, running, swimming dog; as a result, I’m fat, made to stay indoors and to babysit.
  • I am a Jack Russell Terrier. I can take on a fox, a mean badger, and a rat bigger than me in his den. Today, I get scolded for my character and high energy and am forced to turn into a quiet living room dog.
  • I am a Siberian Husky. I have experienced the great, wide-open spaces of Northern Europe, where I could drag sleds for long distances at impressive speeds. Today, I only have the walls of the house or a small garden as a horizon. I dig holes in the ground to release energy and frustration, trying to stay sane.
  • I am a Border Collie. I was made to work hours a day in partnership with my master, and I am an unmistakable artist of working with the herd. Today, they are mad at me because, because of the lack of sheep, I try to check bikes, cars, children in the house, and everything in motion.

I am a 21st-century dog. I’m pretty, I’m alert, I’m obedient, I stay in a bag…but I’m also an individual who, from centuries of training, needs to express my instincts, and I am not suited for the sedentary life you’d want me to lead. Spending eight hours a day alone in the house or the garden, with no work and no one to play or run with, seeing you for a short time in the evening when you get home, and only getting a small toilet walk, will make me deeply unhappy. I’ll express it by barking all day, turning your yard into a minefield, doing my needs indoors, being unmanageable the rare times I’ll find myself outside, and sometimes spending my days sunk, sad, lonely, and depressed on my pillow.

You may think that I should be happy to enjoy all this comfort while you go to work, but I’ll be exhausted and frustrated because this is absolutely NOT what I’m meant to do or what I need to be doing.

If you love me, if you’ve always dreamed of me if my beautiful blue eyes or my athletic look make you want me, but you can’t give me a real dog’s life, a life that’s really worth living according to my breed, and if you can’t offer me the job that my genes are asking, DO NOT buy or adopt me! If you like the way I look but aren’t willing to accept my temperament, gifts, and traits derived from long genetic selection, and you think you can change them with only your goodwill, then DO NOT BUY OR ADOPT ME.

I’m a dog from the 21st century, yes, but deep inside me, the one who fought, the one who hunted, the one who pulled sleds, the one who guided and protected a herd still lives within. So, think very carefully before you choose your dog. And think about getting two, rather than one, so I won’t be so very lonely waiting for you all day. Eight or ten hours is just a workday to you, but it’s an eternity for me to be alone.”

– Author unknown

We will simply add that none of the above means that a goldfish is the only suitable animal companion for busy urbanites. Fostering and volunteering are often helpful experiences that allow potential dog-parents to truly assess what it’s like living with a new puppy or an extroverted big breed.

The short URL of this article is: https://localnewspasadena.com/2y5v

Victoria Thomas

Victoria has been a journalist since her college years when she wrote for Rolling Stone and CREEM. Victoria describes the view of Mt. Wilson from her front step as “staggering,” and she is a defender of peacocks everywhere.
Email: [email protected]

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