There is no doubt, in my mind, that we live in a world where life can be seen as cheap. I was minded to write this after reading a very sad case of a dog losing its life.
Social media has driven the growth of the meme, likes, subscribers, Youtube ‘stars’ and the like. You can’t seem to get away from the cute video of a dog lifting a toilet seat and cocking its leg or some such lunacy. Clearly, abnormal behaviour and one that the dog has been trained to do. But, hey, it seems cute and gets ‘likes’ and subscribers – so that’s all right then. It is about time people woke up and thought about what they are seeing. I fear that boat has sailed, however.
Don’t misunderstand me, I have no problems with people posting pictures and videos of their dogs enjoying life – playing in the pool, the river in the sea, running with other dogs. etc. You get the picture. These are all ‘normal’ behaviours – they are not manufactured situations designed to get a ‘like.’
So, to the picture of the beautiful dog above. His ‘story’ can be found here. This guy had a liking for carrying traffic cones – he got lots of shares on Youtube and became a ‘sensation.’ A few days later he was dead. His owner had him euthanised. Just like that.
His crime? He had bitten another dog that had startled him. Because, he would now need to wear a muzzle and, therefore, not be able to carry a cone his owner, simply, had him euthanised (or killed). This was done because she thought his life would be horrible without a cone. This is breathtakingly callous, cruel and displays a total lack of empathy or concern for a sentient being.
This dog had not been properly socialised or given the chance to live a ‘normal’ life – these are the fundamentals that EVERY dog owner should provide for their charges. Now, I don’t know the full background of this dog, but I can surmise, given my experience, that this dog needed behavioural and training help. Simply keeping him away from everything has resulted in an unfortunate incident that has cost him his life.
So, please, can we stop using our dogs (or any pet) to secure likes or drive our perceived popularity across social media. Many of our animals are suffering because of this practice. Be aware of the real needs of our canine companions. Treat them with kindness, humility, empathy and love. That’s it.