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How To Help 'Man's Best Friend' In The Year Of The Dog


Paula Moore | Tribune News Service

AS people around the world prepare to ring in the Year of the Dog, it's worth noting that for many dogs around the world, the year ahead will be nothing to celebrate. We call them"man's best friend" while often treating them like our worst enemies. But there are simple steps that all of us can take to help improve their lives.
For starters, stop wearing leather. PETA's affiliate in Asia exposed a thriving dog-leather industry in eastern China, in which workers bludgeon dogs, slit their throats and peel off their skin to make gloves and other products that are exported across the globe.
Many mass-market retailers import cheap Chinese leather which is often deliberately mislabeled so there's no way to tell whose skin you're really in. The safest and kindest choice is to shun all leather and choose vegan options instead.
When the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is on TV, change the channel. Westminster's promotion of purebreds is not doing dogs any favours. Because of inbreeding and purposely breeding for distorted physical features, approximately one in four purebred dogs suffers from serious congenital disorders.
Adopt don't shop. Animal shelters are filled to the brim with lovable, affectionate dogs who would make wonderful companions and their lives depend upon being adopted. If you're determined to have a specific breed of dog, you can still rescue one in need. Having a pedigree doesn't protect dogs from being tossed out like old furniture when they're no longer wanted, and many purebreds end up at shelters or breed rescue groups.
Once you've found your new best friend (at the animal shelter) remember that dogs don't want to be locked up in crates or confined to lonely backyard pens. They want to be part of the family. Please let them. When we bring animals into our homes, we have a responsibility to take care of them, to be patient and to love them unconditionally, just as they love us in spite of chewed-up tables or shredded sofas.
If you already shower your dog with kindness and respect, good human! But please remember the many other dogs who aren't so lucky. Speak up for them in this Year of the Dog and beyond.

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