We’ve all seen it, instances of dogs and their owners who share a special, inexplicable bond that seems unbelievable. Chances are you’ve been a…
I’ll never forget the moment I first laid my eyes on a pitbull puppy. My brother had called my parents the night before, pleading with them to adopt this helpless puppy he had come across who was in danger of being euthanized. At the time, our family wasn’t seeking adoption of another dog, as we already cherished our beloved mutt, Snickers. Yet being the saps we all are, my parents agreed to meet my brother and the puppy the following day.
He had a small frame with large, tadpole eyes and even bigger paws, a beautiful brindle pattern sloping his sleek body. Though a puppy, he was fairly calm and could melt anyone’s heart with his sullen, droopy stare. After we had all taken turns doting on him (whom my brother hastily named Bubbies), a confession was made: Bubbies was a pitbull mixed with boxer.
Although it’s a subject not many of us want to broach, our beloved canine companions aren’t going to be with us forever. The often overwhelming grief we feel when we do have to let go of our pets is a testament to how much joy and love they provided us during their all too brief tenure.
Just the other day there was an unseasonable sprinkling of snow here in the UK, which reminded me of my labrador, Sam. We had to put him down in April 2008 at the ripe old age of 14 as he had severe hip-dysplasia and was effectively immobile. We knew it was a kindness. The vets visited the house and gave him the injection while the family sat by and comforted him in his last moments. Rather than watch the vets take him away after the procedure (he was a big old beast), I took a walk to clear my head, and it began to lightly snow. Now, whenever a few flakes of white drop from the heavens I think of the boisterous jet black dog that was by my side from my boyhood through my teenage years. It’s a strange, difficult to explain feeling somewhere between nostalgia, sentimentality, and joy. Maybe some of you readers can relate.
Cats and dogs are two of the world’s most universal species, living side by side with people in hundreds of millions of homes and communities in every human society on this planet.
Yet, on every continent and in every culture, dogs and cats continue to be subject to cruel and inhumane treatment. And a growing body of research has shown that violence against animals is connected to violence against people.
To help address the root causes of animal cruelty, the International Fund for Animal Welfare is launching a new global educational program, Cats, Dogs and Us, which introduces students ages 5-14 around the world to the many different ways that people live with cats and dogs and helps develop knowledge, skills, and empathy and respect.