THE NAYSAYERS

Are you telling me it’s too dangerous?!

When I made the decision to chronicle Leia’s puppy-hood, I vowed to be transparent and honest.  When one enters the blogosphere, it is unavoidable that you open yourself to the “naysayers,” people who can only make negative comments and argue points made. 

Have I ever been a naysayer? Absolutely!  When one gets into the senior years with lots of experiences under one’s belt, it’s not uncommon to be a bit opinionated. But there’s a difference between being downright negative and pessimistic as opposed to expressing an opinion tactfully with intent to share or to help.

I consider myself fairly dog savvy, having owned dogs, cats, and horses for over 60 years. Over these many years, my animals have been amazing teachers. Fortunately, I learned how to “listen” to them and accept their teachings.  Observations of animal behavior has led me to read more to better my understanding of behavior, body language, and how animals think. 

Social media has done much damage in portraying animals as “fur babies” with videos being broadcast of pets displaying mis-interpreted CUTE human-like behavior.  One video in mind, which has gone viral, shows a dog sitting with a Down Syndrome child.  The dog is putting its leg around the child and its paw on the child’s shoulder while the child tries to hug and interact with the dog.  “Awwwww,” viewers are saying. Those who understand animal behavior immediately see all the red flags being raised:  the dog’s stiffened body, hard eyes, ears back, all avoidance tactics . . . this is a bite waiting to happen. And if the bite occurs, the dog is blamed, not the person who allowed the interaction to progress to this point. 

Experiences like these are when my naysayer tendency appears.

But, I digress . . .

As a responsible dog owner, I make decisions daily regarding the welfare of my dogs.  Those decisions include, feeding, vet care, exercise, training, bonding, and mental wellness. Owning a pet is all about establishing balance.  I truly believe that if we work hard to set balance in our own lives that we better understand how to extend it to our dogs. 

When I write my posts, they reflect my PERSONAL approach to being an informed custodian of my dogs based on 60 plus years of experiences with animals. I DO step outside the boundaries at times, especially when it comes to my strong belief that dogs need time and freedom to BE dogs. They need time to run and romp, sniff new odors, and interact in the natural environment.  Are there risks? Certainly. But as a dog owner, I conscientiously work to minimize those risks by making sensible judgment calls where to allow my dogs to have the joy of being able to sniff and run to their heart’s content.  I have found my dogs to be intuitive and sensible about interacting in the natural world because they have had the opportunity to learn how to deal with freedom from an early age. 

But in the blogosphere, the ever present naysayers are like a broken record.

Don’t . . . shouldn’t . . . too dangerous . . . irresponsible . . . the negativity flows ceaselessly.  The naysayers are certainly entitled to their opinions based on their own experiences, but the expression of those opinions would be more readily welcomed and accepted if stated in a positive, sharing, and caring manner.

“One of the keys to success is an unflinching belief that there are no rules. Anyone who’s ever succeeded has gone on that premise, not buying into established procedures, business or otherwise. The naysayers are inevitably left behind amid their shouts of ‘it cannot be done’ and ‘should not be done’.”    Anton Szandor LaVey 

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