Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DDF Mail Bag ~ Something to think about

I received this in my email and want to know what you think. It was written about deaf dogs but you could say the same about specific breeds, amputees, those with physical disabilities/disorders/diseases, or any other characteristic you want. Please take some time to read this and think about it. Post in the comment section what you think.

A number of times I have seen people post with comments about how at the 11th hour they saved this or that deaf dog from being PTS. Their intent is to show that these dogs went on to make good pets, and that it was wrong that they were so close to being PTS just because they were deaf.

But I think for many people outside the deaf dog community, especially those who aren't supportive of deaf dogs, these sorts of comments send a very different message, and one that is not helpful. A number of times I have heard responses to such comments that were along the lines of, "see, if it weren't for that one special person, who saved the dog just because they are a deaf dog fancier, that dog had no chance."

Their interpretation is that deaf dogs are unadoptable except for a small number of "special" adopters, and unfortunately that proves to them that deaf dogs ought to be PTS because they are not really adoptable. They see the situation as a deaf dog fancier coming in and saving the dog at the last minute because no one wanted the dog and it had no chance of survival if the fancier didn't save it. People's perceptions of things are always highly influenced by their preconceptions, and their biases.

We see it in politics all the time. Republicans and Democrats see the same problem completely differently, and each sees it as proof the other side is wrong. Same thing here.

It might be better to just talk about what great pets they make, and leave the issue of how they came to be a family pet, out of the discussion entirely. Just something to think about.

Should we tell people that the dog was saved from euthanasia or should we leave that part of the description out? How can this be applied in other ways?? Should we tell potential adopters the amount of behaviour modification the animal has undergone prior to adoption or will this scare them away?

Personally, I always tell my potential adopters everything there is to know about the animal - forewarned is forearmed in my opinion. I have no qualms about telling people about my own dogs or the dogs I am/have fostered. My thoughts are that people will always form their own opinion no matter what you say so you might as well be truthful.


Kristine said...

I'm inclined to agree with you. I think you have to tell people. Those that don't care would still adopt the dog, and those that would be bothered, would probably end up returning the dog anyway.

I understand the dilemma, though. Presenting a dog as a "deaf dog" instead of as just a dog is problematic. It immediately gives off a negative perception to a lot of people. Which shouldn't be the case, I agree. But I don't think not telling adopters at all is really the solution.

OldMorgans said...

Kristine said it for me.

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

First of all, I don't think there is any such theing as a "deaf dog fancier" there are people who are willing to put the time and effort in to help a less adoptable dog.

Yes! Absolutely! Full disclosure is the only way to perate a rescue, for the well being of the dog and the adopters.

GoLightly said...

I was trying to think of some of the positives inherent in a deaf dog. Less reactive to thunderstorms?
I have zero experince with them. It would be challenging, but not any more so than a "regular" dog, I would think?

Ouch, you got me thinking;)

Full disclosure, absolutely.
But it would be interesting to introduce the dog to humans not knowing the dog was deaf, at first.
It took me awhile to figure out old girl was going deaf. How long would it take a human to notice, I mean.
Curiously out..