Commentary
12:41 am
Sun October 5, 2008

Responsible Dog Owners

Murray, KY – At the City Commissioners meeting on August 26th Paducah Mayor Bill Paxton proclaimed September to be Responsible Dog Ownership Month. One of the commissioners muttered, Oh lord, now we've gone to the dogs.

There were a lot of whereas-es but basically the proclamation said due to the increasingly important role dogs play in the lives of the citizens of Paducah, practicing responsible dog ownership is more vital than ever; and the very best way to accomplish this is through public awareness and education.

The Mayor went on to announce that the Paducah Kennel Club is joining hundreds of other dog clubs across the country in sponsoring Dog Days and encouraged all area dog lovers to participate in the Paducah Kennel Club's event on September 6th.
In 2007 Americans spent more than 9.9 billion - that's billion with a b - dollars on pet supplies, with another $2.9 billion dollars spent on pet services. A 2005 survey found that approximately 63% of all American households own pets.

Because there are irresponsible dog owners, fierce battles are being waged in legislative arenas all over this land. There are passionate warriors on each end of the spectrum. Animal rights activists who believe pet ownership is the same as slavery and want there to be no pets. No dogs, no cats, no parakeets. Nary a goldfish. No pets period. These are the misguided folks who have stealthily opened crates at dog shows to let dogs run into traffic and be killed. On the other far side of the spectrum are commercial breeders (a palatable name for puppy mills) and yes, some show breeders who believe it is their rightto breed as many litters as they want, giving no thought to the already overcrowded shelters. These folks see any legislation qualifying the right to own and breed dogs in the exact same light as NRA fanatics see anti gun legislation. Only guns don't kiss you goodnight.

But the vast majority of dog owners have no clue about the battles being fought in city, county and state legislatures. They treasure their own sweet pets, they hate the notion of shelter dogs being euthanized for lack of a home, and they have other things to think about like the price of gas.

So, what makes a responsible dog owner? As Mayor Paxton proclaimed, education and public awareness. There are the obvious responsibilities. Caring for the health of the dog. Obeying leash laws. Spaying and neutering your pets. Cleaning up after your dog. Ensuring that a barking dog isn't making a neighbor crazy. But there is more. Making sure the dog has identification. Providing exercise and mental stimulation, socialization and training. Dogs love jobs. All dogs love jobs.

Responsible dog owners are invited to bring their dogs to the PKC facility September 6th, from 9 til 2 for a fun, informative day. There will be demonstrations of dog agility, obedience, showing, grooming, hunting and duck herding by the experts. You can watch official Search and Rescue dogs work. Canine Good Citizen testing and Therapy Dogs International testing will be offered. There will be hot dog bobbin' for the dogs and face painting for kids. And there will be a discounted microchip clinic, and id tags available for purchase. You can meet new breeds of dogs, enter a parade with prizes, and there are goodie bags for the first hundred guests.

Most of all, you can celebrate the relationship with your dog, and maybe learn some new ways to have fun with her. Because, the fact of the matter is, you are all your dog has. You are your dog's whole world.

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