Friday, February 5, 2010

don't ask, don't bark, don't tell

Man's best friend. That is until he barks in a New York city apartment. The same week that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, calls for the end of the sixteen year old 'don't ask, don't tell' law which would abolish what he refers to as "a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens" in the United States military, word comes of Nestle, a daschund-terrier mix residing on the Upper East Side with his human companions, who had his vocal cords cut in order to reduce his bark to nothing more than a raspy whisper. Someone in Nestle's building threatened to go to the co-op board about his barking.
A recent article reveals that it seems it is a common practice for dogs to be subjected to a procedure called 'debarking.' These dogs range from those living in private homes, to those on the show-dog circuit and includes drug dealers who want their attack dogs silent to conduct business in the shadows. The procedure of debarking has been around for decades but those veterinarians who perform the surgery don't often advertise that they do so.
Animal rights advocates denounce the practice as robbing a dog of the very essence of what is natural for the animal in order to communicate. In an article that I read it states the list of situations and things that Nestle would bark at, one of them being the new puppy. So, the owner doesn't do any type of behavior modification or call in a trainer but has the dog's vocal cords cut in order to comply with noise regulations set in his co-op building and there is now another puppy? A puppy who according to the owner who was interviewed may be headed for a similar fate. In addition to the veterinarians who don't advertise that they perform the procedure there is also a dog breeder and handler mentioned who wouldn't give his last name after being interviewed. If you are going to subject an animal to such a practice own up to it.
Both of my dogs were adopted from the North Shore Animal League. They are a no kill shelter that gives every animal a chance. After my first dog left us much too soon I went back to the North Shore to find my dog that I have now. He reminded me of my first guy and in a state of still grieving my first dog I walked out with a little bundle of blonde puppiness. He had that musky puppy smell with his adoption papers tucked under his thin blue collar that marked him as a male. That puppy was given the impossible task that is placed upon the dog who is adopted after the loss of a beloved companion.
My dog barks at the mailman every day. Every day. The mailman joked to me one day "is it just me he doesn't like or does he bark like that at everyone?" Dogs bark at mailmen for a reason. In their loyal minds they are protecting their home and that pesky mailman is the one guy who hasn't gotten the message and keeps coming back! When we lived in an apartment building years ago with our first dog I remember someone saying that when your dog barks at the front door you have no idea if he barked at someone passing by in the hall or if he just sent someone suspicious away from your door. How many times have you heard the story that had a happy ending about the people who narrowly escaped the burning building or the person who slipped through the frozen lake because the dog was barking? Sometimes, when I read stories like that it makes me like the dogs more than the people. Where's the Dog Whisperer when you need him? I have a plaque over my back door that reads 'Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are.' I try.

No comments:

Post a Comment