How many times have I heard someone say “It’s just a dog”! 
These are lines taken from a poem by an unknown author called “Just A Dog”

“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.“Just a dog”  brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. 

We owe it to our four-legged companions to make them our priorities – take them from the bottom of the pile and put them at the top – because they have no voice of their own – and we, their carers have all the power.  There is no justification to perpetrate unkind treatment – because “it’s just a dog’.  Somehow they’re meant to feel grateful for their food, board, lodgings, and vaccinations.  I’d like to find a person who can transmit this to their pet. 

I’ve heard a dog owner say to justify leaving her dog from 7 am -5 pm every day, “he should be lucky he’s not still in the rescue centre. He’ll be fine….”

He is my neighbor’s dog an adorable Shih Tzu and I am the one to hear him sobbing and barking every day and it slices me with the pain of a knife. I’d rather have him with me – without any compensation.  He doesn’t understand why he’s been left alone. She knows I’d have him but doesn’t want to bother because … “he’s just a dog”.

Our dogs treat us as their pack. Deny them the pack and they’re lost souls. Deprive them of everything – but not the pack. Once they’ve bonded with someone – their sweet loyalty knows no bounds.

I have had 2 dogs staying in my home from different families who have become good friends and when one goes home leaving the other – I’ve had to deal with the fallout of refusing to eat and loss of vitality with a full retreat into their bed.  Something I’ve experienced a few times.

And then I’ve had owners tell me that when dogs get home they’re not themselves  – being unnaturally quiet, low key and uninterested in their food or suffering incontinence.  I can’t say it’s because they’re upset at being separated from me, so I explain to the owner that they are just confused and they’ll be fine in a short time – which they always are.

Separate them and they feel … sadness and great distress which often manifests in a refusal to eat or separation incontinence – uncontrollable pee and poo.  And if you’re lucky it will last just 24hours until they’re reconciled with their new situation. Or like the stories of dogs who will not leave the grave of their owner – will prefer to remain there until they too have passed.

Let us celebrate these delightful if sometimes challenging companions we choose to care for and who care for us by understanding better about them and not underestimating their needs because it makes our lives easier.  


About The Author

Julia C Parsons, mother of two living in the UK, has come late to life as a dog person although she owned her own 3 dogs for 16 years. Having begun a new career as a successful home dog boarder 5 years ago to help cover the costs of her empty nest home, she realised how much misinformation there was generally about understanding dog behaviour, their food and nutritional needs as well as the many conflict of interests of the veterinary profession, that may be shortening and not enhancing a dog’s life. Feeling a strong, instinctive empathy with our four-legged friends, she wants to do what she can to be their voice and dispel the many myths surrounding our special companions. @theuksdogblogger

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