What We Owe Them

A walk, a chew, and some snuggles.

That’s all it takes for most of us; it’s all it takes for Felix. He is resting peacefully by me now as I work, not fidgeting, not asking me when I will do something fun. He knows the fun will return, and that now is rest time. He has no stress, no FOMO (fear of missing out), and he sleeps easy. We are camping and numerous dogs and people have walked by. Felix watches them pass; no concerns apparent.

Contrast that with a neighboring dog who ran from his humans today to investigate our camp. He was a sweet young lab mix who genuinely just wanted some friends, some fun, or maybe some food. When he returned to his human, his human hit him. He smacked him under the chin, on his head, and then commanded that he follow him back home, with his choke chain hanging from his hand–the one the dog just happened to not be wearing. The dog complied–what choice did he have? and I was saddened. They are our captive animals. We have a responsibility to do right by them every single day they are in our care.

We have an obligation to feed them the to the best of our abilities. That could be grocery store kibble with table scraps or it could be locally sourced and organically raised raw meat. The best we can do is what they deserve.

We have signed up to allow them to move all of their muscles in their body as much as their heart desires. It scares you to unclip that leash? Get a longer one. Get out there. They deserve this.

We owe them communication that is higher level than hitting, jerking, and other kinds of force. We are the ones with the giant frontal lobe, after all. Know what you need from them and pay them handsomely for humoring you; trust me, I’ve built my life on this.

Above all, never forget that we are responsible for our captive animals.

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