Taos Bark: Following the dog rules


Dear readers,

Let's take a break from all the serious info this week and have a little diversion. Smile and just have fun relating to being a dog owner.

Here are some "rules" you should never tell a dog parent. See how many of these have been thrown your way. Relate it to how you would feel as a parent if someone commented in this same way referring to your children. Dog devotees already relate!

You have dogs because you don't have kids, right?

Not only is this rude, but there are millions of people who enjoy both varieties of kids: both the human and the canine types. If you are someone who chooses to have children and then look down upon me or any other millions of childless-by-choice folks with a sneer, think twice before you speak. We are not lesser people for not having human children. In fact, many of us feel much richer by being graced by the presence of a dog.

Oh, your dog died? Well, get another one!

Though I said "never again" to allowing a dog to enter my life and thus my heart, I did bring another dog into my life. I know I could never not love this way again. For millions of us, hearing "just get another one" when a dog dies is insensitive and can be interpreted as downright cruel, no matter how well intentioned your words might seem. We do not replace people when they pass, and dog parents feel the same way: A life is irreplaceable no matter the form it takes.

Dogs should not be allowed on furniture/bed

To everyone whose name graces my birth certificate other than myself, I say, "Shhhh." According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, almost half of dogs sleep with their owner in their owner's bed. Until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, where their dog is allowed to reside is totally their own business. Besides, some of us sleep better, feel calm and are generally more positive people with a dog by our side, present company included.

That dog doesn't understand what you're saying

I talk to my dog. Raise a paw if you are one of the millions of people who talks to their canine family member(s). I do this whether I am doing laundry, shopping in a pet-welcoming store or driving in the car. Maybe he doesn't understand, "Mommy needs a new pair of pumps," but he knows the intonation of my voice and responds with a tail wag and a tilted head - or sometimes no reaction at all. To each their own, and if talking to my dog bothers you, then don't eavesdrop.

That dog should be put down; he's costing you too much money

Perhaps one of the most unsavory and disturbing trends involves folks who feel they are the mortality police. The decision to euthanize a beloved pet is a very personal and heartbreaking one. I know because I've been down that road. Telling me to put a dog down in the name of cost savings is grounds for dismissal from my life.

You shouldn't let that dog kiss you

My mouth, my face, my dog, my life: These four factors alone are all reasons why dog kisses are allowed. Yes, there is a whole scientific school of thought - and some fact - about germs and bacteria and diseases. But if I am getting a dog kiss and you don't like it, look away and say nothing.

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