Many people today consider their dogs’ part of the family, and every September, animal welfare groups shine a spotlight on the commitment it takes to have a canine companion, reminding caregivers that having a dog is not like having a car. When your dog misbehaves, you can’t just trade him in. If she gets sick, it is your responsibility to help her recover, and if your lifestyle changes, you must make every effort to accommodate your dog’s needs.

Dogs are awesome in their devotion, loyalty and friendship to humankind. Anyone who has ever been owned by a dog can attest to this fact. The wagging tail at the sound of the leash being taken down, the excitement your dog shows when you come home, even if you have only been gone for five minutes, and the head snuggled in your lap…just a few of the rewards of sharing home and life with a dog.

However, having a dog is not just a privilege; it is a responsibility. Dogs depend on humans for health, happiness, and well-being, not just for food and shelter. They were meant to share our homes with us and be our companions, and that is the right reason for having a dog. People who get dogs for the wrong reason, usually end up regretting their decision, and the dog often becomes relegated to the backyard, tied to a doghouse, surrendered to the dog pound, or simply dumped on a country road to “get rid of the burden.” Caring for a dog should not be a “burden;” it should be a joy. Caregivers need to accept responsibility for the animal you promised to love his whole life long. What is he thinking when you drag him off to the pound and drive away without him? MILLIONS of healthy, young dogs each year die every year because of thoughtless humans!

Responsible caregivers NEVER overlook responsibility for this living being and recognize that the dog’s welfare is totally dependent on people.


Here in this house…I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of other dogs “out there.” I will sleep soundly, knowing that when I wake, my world will be safe. I will never know hunger, or the fear of not having enough to eat. I will never shiver in the cold or grow weary from the heat. My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted, because I have a responsible caregiver..

Here in this house…I will be talked to, and even if I don’t understand, I can enjoy the warmth of the words. I will have my own name so that I may know who I am among many. My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it.

Here in this house…I will never be a substitute for anything I am not. I will not be used to improve people’s image of themselves. I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone’s idea of who I should be. I will never suffer for someone’s anger, impatience, or ignorance. I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all, and I will learn my lessons well.

Here in this house…I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch…knowing that everything they do will be for my well-being. If I am sick, I will be doctored; if scared, I will be calmed; if sad, I will be cheered. No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and of great value. I will get to experience many fun activities that keep my brain and my body active, so that I will not be bored. I will get to go with my human on many trips, and will get the daily exercise that I need. I will never be cast out because I am too, old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough. My life is a responsibility, not an afterthought. I am learning that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs…

Here in this house…I am happy, healthy, and loved…because I have a responsible caregiver.