If You Don't Walk Your Dog Every Day, You Don't Deserve To Own One
Last week, the ACT announced supposedly ‘tough’ new laws that will see dog owners held to a new standard of care for their furry friends.
The change, due to be enacted in about six months, will see dog owners fined up to $4000 if their dogs are confined for a full day, and then not walked within two hours. The same fine will apply if owners fail to provide dogs with appropriate food, water and shelter, and a clean, safe environment.
While the laws have more or less been welcomed, there has been some contention, with opposition ministers and concerned citizens arguing that the laws are an overreach, and that they may turn dog lovers into criminals.
As if. No dog lover would ever consider confining a dog for 24 hours, or not providing it with adequate food, water and shelter.
Moreover, any seasoned dog lover, even dog liker, in their right mind knows that these laws are incredibly valuable, and should be met as an absolute bare minimum if you are going to be guardian to one of the greatest creatures alive.
If someone dares to do less, then fine away, I say.
I have had dogs most of my life, and have treasured every one of them. Dogs are, I believe, some of the most special souls on this earth.
They love with no conditions. They are fluffy and cuddly. They are always happy to see you at the start of the day. And the end of the day. And when you get out of the shower. All they ask for is exercise, food, water, a bed and a bit of love, despite deserving the world. I have never met a bad dog -- only bad owners.
I’ve had a rough year with my health this year, and I can tell you with no doubt that the two beings who have gotten me through the toughest times have been two French bulldogs. Iggy and Roxy are my mentor’s children, and a visit to them instantly brightens my day. They get me out of the house and walking, they help me make new friends at the café, they make everyone everywhere I take them smile. They sit on my lap and talk to me, they snuggle into my neck and arms in bed and they are always happy to sit silently on the couch and watch a bit of TV with me.
Roxy, the little one, gets so excited when she sees me that often, a little bit of wee comes out. How many humans are so happy to see someone that a bit of wee comes out? Not enough, in my opinion.
Arabella and Fu are two other dogs I visit regularly, and they are always so happy to see me that they whimper and jump with delight. They are both beach dogs, so we spend our days going for long walks, getting sandy and then collapsing on the deck.
You may have gleaned from these stories that I want a dog. I want a dog SO badly. And while I could comfortably provide a dog of my own with all the basic amenities that will soon become law in the ACT, I don’t believe it is enough.
Dogs deserve so much more than one rudimentary walk per day, to not be confined for more than 24 hours and basic food, water and shelter.
They deserve variety in their diet, not only for their health and well-being but because life is boring when you eat the same thing every day. They deserve beds that are comfortable and warm and updated regularly. They deserve two walks a day and access to the sunshine, whether that be on a balcony or in a backyard.
READ MORE: Why I Love And Hate My Rescue Dogs
If you ask me, these laws don’t go far enough. But they are some of the best in the world, and definitely some of the best in our own nation, and that should be congratulated.
But as for me? I won’t be taking on the responsibility and honour of owning a dog until I can give them the life they deserve.