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Frequent Contributor
Chaser
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
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Encouragement for the Rescuers

Hello Cesar!

I am so excited that you are here with us. I know you have already gotten so many questions with many more to come, but I will put this out there in case you have time to get to it.

Before we had ever heard about you or your methods, my husband and I became involved in dog rescue and have helped several dogs to find good homes - including the four that became part of our pack (in addition to another rescue we adopted as a puppy a few years earlier). We are currently up to six total, including a foster dog that we hope to place (but she's been with us two years).

I must say that I am extremely proud of my dogs and the stability that we have, though there are always behavioral issues of one sort or another. I love watching them interact as a pack and as I mentioned in my introduction, I think they have all taught each other a lot.

Looking back, I'm sure you never would have recommended bringing so many potentially unstable dogs into a situation at one time, and I do understand your point on that. I guess I'm wondering if you can offer any encouragement/advice to those of us in high euthanasia areas who have to choose between life and death sometimes for a dog.

I feel that I have grown in my control of our dogs, though staying calm at all times is so difficult! My one constant guilt is that they rarely get walks. Again, after we established our pack, and then started seeing your show/reading your book, etc., we totally see and understand their need for walks, but it is almost impossible for us to walk six dogs on a daily basis.

I guess my dilemma is: I know it would be easier and probably healthier to have fewer dogs, but it becomes a real conflict when you know you are doing so little to help such a large problem, and then you find out you aren't doing entirely right by your own dogs. I love each of my dogs specifically and want them to have the best life possible (that is why we rescued them), but the location where we live and our schedules make it just too challenging for consistent walks, though we spend quite a bit of time caring for the dogs.

I guess I would ask - is it preferable to rescue a dog who may not get the exercise necessary to live the fullest life or is that, do you think, like not having a life at all? I'm sure I don't speak only for myself when I mention the heartbreak of seeing so many dogs euthanized or spending the majority of their life in a shelter, and I have already heard from folks who exceed me in pack count! I really feel that so many people invest in buying a dog that it is hard to get many people to want to invest the time in a potentially problem sort of dog, that those of us who at least have a willingness to do so feel the need to double and triple up on our responsibility to these dogs.

I know this is a complex issue with no easy solution, and I really appreciate what you have done to work with those that others have thrown away. I am very excited about your new Foundation and the hope that might bring to rescue groups and those who need help to chip away at the problem.

I see many people on your show who have one dog that causes a problem, but do you have any advice for those of us who have packs to manage? I guess I want you to tell me I'm not a terrible owner and to just relax :-), but I will listen to whatever advice you have.
Author
CesarMillan
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎09-11-2007
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Your message touches my heart

Dear Chaser,

You ask a complex question that touches my heart:



Chaser wrote:
I guess I would ask - is it preferable to rescue a dog who may not get the exercise necessary to live the fullest life or is that, do you think, like not having a life at all? I'm sure I don't speak only for myself when I mention the heartbreak of seeing so many dogs euthanized or spending the majority of their life in a shelter, and I have already heard from folks who exceed me in pack count! I really feel that so many people invest in buying a dog that it is hard to get many people to want to invest the time in a potentially problem sort of dog, that those of us who at least have a willingness to do so feel the need to double and triple up on our responsibility to these dogs.

I know this is a complex issue with no easy solution, and I really appreciate what you have done to work with those that others have thrown away. I am very excited about your new Foundation and the hope that might bring to rescue groups and those who need help to chip away at the problem.

I see many people on your show who have one dog that causes a problem, but do you have any advice for those of us who have packs to manage? I guess I want you to tell me I'm not a terrible owner and to just relax :-), but I will listen to whatever advice you have.




To me, life would be empty without a pack of dogs. I grew up with packs of dogs, and at the Center I currently keep up to fifty dogs at one time. I think dogs benefit from being with other dogs; they fulfill each other in ways that we never could fulfill them. There is nothing as powerful as being with your own kind. But even I have to turn a dog down once in a while; for example, when I am traveling to shoot episodes of Dog Whisperer and will be gone for long periods of time. When I will not be around personally to know the dogs (especially those with issues) are getting the proper care, I cannot, for example, take in a very aggressive dog. It could be very dangerous to the whole pack.

There are so many dogs out there that need good homes. If an owner is capable of adopting more than one dog, especially dogs that otherwise would have an appointment to die, I commend them. I know how difficult it is to walk into a shelter and see all those endearing faces, especially knowing that many of them may not survive if they are not adopted. However, we need to be realistic. No one of us have the ability to end the problem of homeless and stray dogs in this country (or in countries like Mexico, where the problem is even worse). I always say, you have to start with one dog at a time. If you are realistically able to take in more dogs, great. Then add more dogs. But I don't recommend adding more dogs than you can properly care for.

Dogs, like all creatures that are of Mother Nature, are all about balance. Their lives don't have to be perfect, but they need certain basic things in order to feel secure. They need exercise, discipline and affection. They need a stable pack and a strong pack leader. So when you add new dogs, ask yourself, "Am I doing what is good for the whole pack?" To me, that pack would include you, your spouse, and your children as well as the rest of the dogs in your home. If you rescue ten dogs but have no time for your husband or wife, that is not balance. If you are saving dogs lives but your children can't invite friends over because of potentially dangerous or hyperactive dogs, that is not balance. I don't believe we can help Mother Nature without trying to provide balance for everyone in our world. If you are adding dogs because you feel sorry for them, but your whole pack - and your life - is not in harmony, to me, that is a problem.

I totally understand the desire to help the world by helping dogs - that is what my wife and my Foundation is all about. But each of us can only do what we can do. Perhaps there are other ways you can help dogs without making your lives unmanageable. Far too many people have animals that are not spayed or neutered. Educating people on the population and health benefits of spaying and neutering their pets is one way you could help. Volunteering your services at a Pet Adoption Fair or a shelter is another way. If you can afford it, donating money to organizations that help dogs is one more way to help. You can even help people simply by being a good Pack Leader, responsible dog owner, and role model. Many of my clients say that people on the street or at the dog park have noticed how well behaved their dogs are, and that has motivated them to take better care of their dogs. If we create more good Pack Leaders in the world, then more dogs can be adopted.

In short, when bringing any animal into your home, ask yourself, "Am I doing this for the good of the whole pack?" And don't take the rescue of all dogs in the world onto your own shoulders, as much as you would like to. Think creatively about other ways to help, and instead make a balanced life for your current dogs and your own family. When we begin by creating harmony in our own lives, there is a ripple effect for the whole world around us.


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