dog's life can be many things, but the connotation of the phrase
assume a dog's life is uncomfortable. But the fact is that millions
of dogs, particularly in the United States and other wealthy nations,
live 'the life of Riley.' The connotation of that phrase is good.
Labrador retrievers are among the lucky ones. They live indoors.
Each has his own recliner in my living room, although neither has
learned to operate the controls.
eat high-quality dog food and always have three containers of water
available at various spots in the house. They don't have the freedom
enjoyed by my daughter's cat, which has constant access to the outdoors.
But they get a walk of at least a mile twice every 24 hours. Usually,
they get a chance to run free within a large fenced area a few minutes
as comfortable as my Labs have it, I worry about them. I usually
take two at once on walks, which means I get pulled off my feet
occasionally when they both want to chase a cat or squirrel or another
dog. But I hang onto their leashes desperately at such times, knowing
that even though they have eight legs to my two they can't drag
worry about them because I have seen the results of dogs being neglected.
The best-fed dog with up-to-date shots and a comfortable home becomes
a neglected dog the moment it is out of the control of its owner.
far too many dog owners believe that controlling a dog is cruel,
as though a dog can be expected to understand the dangers of city
Labrador, the most popular breed of dog in America for the past
four years, is smart enough to learn many things, as the accompanying
photo of a Lab on wheels suggests. Thousands serve as seeing-eye
dogs. Many have been trained to help deaf people and people with
other limiting conditions. But they learn only what they are taught
and what they feel a need to learn such as how to turn door
handles and open refrigerators.
their own, Labs and other dogs are no more likely to learn to be
safe around motor vehicles than are coyotes, raccoons or skunks.
Yet many owners believe a dog that runs free is being treated well.
belief is as absurd as the belief of many that a dog riding in the
back of a pickup is being treated well.
rides and moments of freedom from careless owners account for the
deaths of many fine dogs. At least seeing such a photo can give
thoughtful, concerned dog owners the knowledge that such careless
moments don't always have to result in permanent destruction of
their beloved pets.