In the short video a young boy runs through a field urging his companion to keep up,in another scene a young girl gives her companion a bath, yet another scene shows a young boy and girl try to teach their companion to “roll over”. It not until the end of the video that is revealed that the “companions” are a DVD player, a laptop and a cell phone. The disappointment in the kids eyes is heartbreaking. The idea is to get kids to cut the cord, stop their dependence on electronics, to get out and get active. It appears to be a match made in heaven. Children looking for a companion (or is it a plaything) and dogs that need a good home. The post by The Mad Hatters entitled Dog vs iPhone that spurned me on to write this post can be found here. Hats off to Dog Trust for sponsoring this campaign.
Although this is a promotion running in the UK, it does strike a chord for those of us living in the US and Canada (my two homes) where child obesity is running rampant and millions of dogs are euthanized each year. I am confident that the promoters, Dog Trust, has their dogs well-being in mind when placing a dog in a home. I am not a child welfare or animal welfare expert. That does not stop me from having an opinion and I must raise a caution flag.
I can not stress enough that dogs are a living, feeling animal. Dogs have a natural need to be part of a pack and they form strong bonds with their pack members. It is simply cruel to take a dog into your home and then discard it when you become disillusioned or simply discover how much time and work a dog takes. This is what happens hundreds if not thousands of times every day. That cute puppy you or your kids just had to get, chews the sofa cushions when it gets bored. The vet bills start to mount up when it swallows the kids toys. Other bills pile up when your puppy chews your new iPhone.
You or your kids may have pledged an oath, to everyone involved in the adoption, that Fido would be walked religiously twice a day. Those daily walks become “old” very quickly and so does nagging your kids to live up to their obligations. You could hardly wait to play fetch with Fido only to find out that after throwing the ball twice, you were the one that had to fetch it while Fido decides to dig a hole in your prize petunia’s. Fido becomes a real nuisance to your kids, constantly whining while they finish just one more video game, or they keep up with various texts, tweets or snapchats.
On the other hand it could truly be match made in heaven. If getting a dog is a well thought out decision and not an impulse, it may be the best decision you make. The antics of your new family member may keep you in stitches. The bond formed between your son or daughter and their new best friend may be life changing. Your children may surprise you, as they rise to the occasion and feed and walk their companions without constant reminders. The vets bills may be higher then you thought, however, the love and companionship you get from your new family member is priceless.