So, you mean to tell me that this okay:
But this isn’t:
I don’t think I will take lessons of logic or morality from you.
It’s just a matter of perspective! See, once again, we are in that lovely area known as gray, or as I call it… REALITY.
A recent online discussion came about surrounding breeders and the separation that exists amongst us all. No two breeders will do things the same way, or believe the same things. All of our past experiences make up who we are in the present, and they tint the way we see life, and they affect our very belief systems. Since nobody has lived my life, they can’t possibly see life the way I see it. At the very root of the human condition is a duality… the “spirit against the flesh,” the “yin and yang, the light and the dark, the very individual experience of life versus the common and shared experience of life.
“Judge not, lest ye be judged” — “Walk a mile in my shoes”
Somehow, it seems, the first reaction to almost any situation is to lay judgement on it based on our “perception” that is clouded by our experiences. As society has changed, and this country has changed, and technology has changed and government has changed, more and more people are disconnected with the actual realities of life. Life and Death are things that have become so sterilized, that most people don’t realize that neither of these events are truly sterile. Birth is a messy business; it is disgusting, wet and smelly but the most beautiful thing comes from it… LIFE. Very few animals (including people) are fortunate to experience a truly peaceful death. Death can be violent, disgusting, and messy, but it also brings peace. In death, there is no pain, no hunger, no struggle. It is the end of a journey, and no matter how death comes, it completes the cycle. We, as a society, try to avoid “death” and have sterilized our customs dealing with the dead. So, if you have never experienced the reality of these circumstances, you can’t really understand the perspective of those that deal with it on a daily basis.
Take the lion. First-world countries are in an outrage while the third-world countries are wondering “what lion”? It is a matter of perspective! Here we complain about how someone could kill a lion, and there they are hoping some other wealthy individual will come and pay to kill another literal man-eater. I guess it is easy to love a lion that lives 9,000 miles away without ever thinking about the perspective of those that live with them in their backyard, literally.
The same can be said for the person that is looking at buying a puppy. Their experiences, or lack thereof, cloud their view or perspective of how a puppy should be raised. Most of the people who are buying a puppy have never actually raised a litter of puppies, so what they have most likely experienced is a sterilized version of what a breeder SHOULD BE, and what they have yet to figure out is that the sterilized version that they have been told come from other people who have never raised a litter of puppies. Very often, the people pushing that sterilized view actually don’t believe anyone should even be buying a puppy.
The truth is, raising multiple dogs is messy. Dogs make poop, they roll in the dirt, they slobber, they lick themselves, some eat poop, they lick each other, they shed, they shake the dirt they have rolled in off of their bodies, and that dirt flies EVERYWHERE, and with that dirt, hair and dander flies everywhere. It is messy, but most people have no experience with that reality, so they judge others on a reality of which they have never lived. They don’t walk a mile in my shoes, but they know what they have been told, and what they have been told is a lie.
I like dogs, especially mine. I respect dogs for being exactly what they are and don’t try to anthropomorphize them into little humans that walk on four legs. I would be doing them a disservice if I did that. My house isn’t always immaculate, but my dogs are happy. If given the choice between dusting or playing with my dogs, I will most likely choose playing with my dogs, unless someone is coming to my house. Then, I put them in their “room” like little hot-house flowers, and scrub my home from top to bottom. I have to prepare it for an unreal reality to appease the perspective of people whose only version of reality is based on a lie.
Then, even though most breeders feel this pressure to present an unreal reality, we then turn around and let our reality cloud our judgement of another breeder’s reality. Rather than learn from our own experience, we tread the same waters as those people with the sterilized view, and expect others to do the things we do for the reasons we do even though they have not lived our life or we theirs.
Floating about social media is an image of dogs in double-decker runs with more dogs in pens in the yard. The covering of the outside pens is tin, and tin rusts. Now, it is my understanding that the image is from the 1980s… THREE DECADES AGO, but, when we see that image, we automatically view it with the tinted lens of our experiences, and not that of the owner of those dogs, or even of the dogs themselves. I recently saw images of an Amish Kennel. Now, I, like most of you, have heard the horror stories surrounding the Amish. Well, this facility was not only immaculate, but it was CUTE! Who could disparage this facility? Almost anyone that has not experienced life in the exact same manner as that Amish breeder, and most especially, people who have never experienced the reality of a breeder. You see, dogs experience life as they know it. They are not born with an innate sense that they belong on a couch. Many dogs DO NOT belong on your couch, or even in your home! Many dogs would actually be happier if they were allowed to more dog-like and less like the baby-dolls we treat them as.
Here is a “for instance”: I got my old girl Ginny when she was 5. I had visited her several times at her breeder’s kennel. I liked her. I really liked her. She was as happy a dog I had ever known and everything a Golden should be and she had been raised in a kennel. I brought her home, and she became an anxious mess. The change in the house from wood flooring to stone caused her anxiety. The noises in the house flipped her out. She spent the first 2 years going outside and being happy as a clam, and a hermit that would run into her crate and stay there until she could go back outside. She slowly got to where she would sleep on the dog bed. Then the ottoman. Then the dog’s settee, and now, if she comes inside too late to get the couch, she walks around sulking, and at 12, will pick up a toy and start throwing it in the air, to get the couch hogs off to play, which is when she drops the toy and hightails it to the couch. The point is, given a choice at 5 years old, she would have chosen the kennel. She didn’t know anything else. She was happy. It was ME that changed her. I put my ideals and my perspective of what she “should” want onto her. It made me “feel good” to think that I was pampering her, when in reality I put her through much stress because I was making her be the dog that I felt that she should want to be.
It’s sad that we do this to our dogs– that we put our own emotional needs onto them– that they have to bear the weight or our own frail duality. What is even sadder, though, is when we allow that frailty affect our fellow man. It’s definitely all about your perspective.