Of fads and consciousness where man’s best friend is concerned.
Humans are pack animals just like dogs, wolves, etc. Of course, humans have consciousness – or should have. Whatever fad is reported about in the media, people rush out to imitate and in particular when a celebrity is in the lead. One of those fads was the popularity of toy dogs like Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell. But what happens when the fad wears off and people find themselves with a little dominating monster or one that has become sick from overindulgence and lack of exercise? Sadly, these purse pets have been turning up in shelters all over the world as their owners lose interest and give them away. Some are even unable to walk anymore! The photo is an example of abandoned dogs in a shelter.
Socialite Paris Hilton burst onto the scene about eight years ago and soon had her own TV show, The Simple Life. She did not debut alone. Her Chihuahua Tinkerbell rocketed to fame with her, appearing through five seasons of the show, usually tucked under Hilton’s arm or peeking out of her Luis Vuitton handbag. Suddenly, toy breeds were in demand, and other celebrities, including Britney Spears, Paula Abdul, Ivana Trump, Scarlett Johansson, and Jessica Alba, paraded before the media with their own Chihuahuas, Pugs, Min-Pins, et al. Regular folk followed, and soon experienced the drawback of treating a toy breed like a delicate piece of jewelry – ill-behaved and un-socialized tiny dogs.
Where are all those handbag hounds today? Sadly, inevitably, eight years later, those toy breeds have now become victims of their own popularity and poor treatment, and have been turning up in shelters more and more frequently.
But all trends eventually become passé and are abandoned. That’s easy if it’s a pair of shoes or a haircut, but in the case of a dog, it is unforgiveable. In the words of Cesar Milan, the famous dog guru aka ‘the dog whisperer’: “A dog is not a toy or a clothing accessory; it’s a living creature.” The owner needs to be the pack leader, not the follower!
So, unfortunately, the trend of dogs as accessories has caused a great deal of suffering to the animals involved. It is cute to carry one around but it is cruel to do this if you aren’t taking care of the little darling. Small dogs need exercise as much as large ones and this has to be provided. They are meant to walk around on their own four legs. Many behavior problems – not just with toy dogs but all dogs that people own – are caused by not enough exercise. We can say the same for humans – sickness, obesity, depression – all can be helped with exercise and a well-balanced diet. Do you think dogs are happy being carried around as a purse all day? The answer is no!
People turn out to be afraid for their little pets and over-protect them. The animals pick up on fear from the owner and this can actually invite an attack from another dog. That’s the problem since the energy they are transmitting is fear, which as we know, is negative-type energy in the animal world as well. Fear creates instability and can actually invite an attack from another dog, so though these owners mean well, they are not really protecting the dog at all. This can lead to fear, aggression, and the stereotype of the angry, yapping Chihuahua or the small dog with a Napoleon complex. Left without a strong pack leader, a small dog will act like a big dog because that is the only way it can protect itself.
UK Blue Cross Shelter manager Lara Alford confirms that “Although they are bred as companions, they don’t ask to be kept in handbags. Lack of exercise can cause poor bone development and stunted growth. When these toy breeds are brought to the shelter, some cannot even walk.” In the United Kingdom, the number of toy dogs abandoned by their owners has increased by 44%. In the USA, 4.5 million dogs are killed (euthanized) each year.
As a dog lover and owner, I decided to write this article to bring more awareness to the problem. There is nothing wrong with having a toy dog as long as you give it proper exercise and treat it like a dog. We can learn much from our four-legged friends. For centuries they have befriended us and we need to return the favor. Consciousness needs to extend to all living things. Here in Bali where I live, there are many dogs who have no homes and go hungry. However, several animal shelters have been established and slowly consciousness is growing. Here are my two beloved dogs, Tango and Lala who have good karma in this lifetime it seems.
The important thing to remember is that a dog is not a toy or an accessory or a piece of furniture. A dog is a living creature, and when you adopt, your commitment is for life. Cesar says it best: “The decision to adopt a dog should be treated with the same careful attention that you would use if you were deciding where to live, to have children, or whether or not to get married.” It is just as life-changing, and just as fulfilling, as any of those other decisions.
When you do make the decision to adopt your next (or first) dog, remember the four and a half million that are destroyed each year in the US, and the over one and a half million toy breeds among them, and please consider adopting from your local shelter. You can save a life and find a life-long friend, as long as you remember to let a dog be a dog, and to protect by respect.
Sohana is a Reiki Master and kinesiology practitioner as well as a jewelry designer; thus her healing work is reflected in each piece. She is American and has traveled widely, living in India and has now made her home on the magical island of Bali. Sohana still travels the world lecturing about gemstone therapy, teaching kinesiology classes and exhibiting her latest jewelry designs. During exhibitions, she demonstrates the empowering effect of gemstones using kinesiology. visionaryjewelsbysohana