The other day I read an article about a woman who was dropping her dog off at the animal shelter because he 'constantly wanted to be near her'. Yes, you read that right. Pet owner, dog shelter- reason given: overly affectionate. I was dumbfounded. Was affection not the reason most of us take in a dog?
Admittedly, the livestock on my homestead live here for a purpose. They provide a purpose, meet a need, or serve as protection: goats are milk and meat, poultry are meat and eggs, while the donkey is the herd keeper and the puppy (Ben) is guardian. Despite how cold this may sound, they also serve as companions, comedians, and comfort- distractions from the world around me. Never has one of them been sent away or put down because of their affection.
This article came across my news feed shortly after my own Ben was attacked in our own property by two aggressive pit bulls. In reality, my dog's 'affection' for us nearly cost him his life; he was protecting us because he loves us.
Before we jump to condemn this woman, let us consider her lack of understanding. True- a dog can be inconvenient when they jump on your cleanly pressed work clothes; when you trip over them every time you turn around in the kitchen- or when they bark at the 'shady intentions' of every leaf in the yard. Did she not realize that, in turn, the dog's affection also meant his loyal protection? He would, most likely, defend her against any unsavory intruder (human or otherwise)? Warn her of danger- natural or devised (snakes? coons? even a 'dark personality')?
The take away from all this rambling? Animals of any type are a responsibility we must consider before we bring them home; sometimes people just don't know how to handle them; and, finally, if we put the work into them, the benefits out weigh the irritation.
Now if you will excuse me, my giant lug and I have a snuggle routine to complete before bedtime rounds start.