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The societal pressure of choosing the “right” dog

Approx Reading Time-10Choosing a new dog is beset by societal rules where doing the “right” thing is deemed most important, even if your dog is unsuited to you.


I’ve recently decided to add another member to my fuzzy family. You would think, with my sole canine daughter reaching comparative teenhood, that it would be the right time for another. But it seems no matter the dog, no matter the source and no matter how reputable they are, that the decision is not mine to make.

You see, the doggie world is controlled by societal rules and, at the moment, the collective demands you adopt a rescue dog, lest there be trouble. I rescued a greyhound some years back, which was wonderful, but one of the lessons I learned from that experience is that not every dog suits every situation, and the “right thing” can turn out to be anything but.

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The pressure around dog ownership is a very real thing, as is the environment of trends around dog ownership too. Like fashion, it is cyclical. As it was designer dogs yesterday, it is rescue pups today. Thoroughbreds sourced from a certified breeder are a neddy-no-no; the reputable nature of the breeder deemed irrelevant. While researching the latest family member, as soon as I dropped the “t” word, each loose conversation, chat window or comments section has pushed me in the general direction of the current trend.

But, unlike my partner, hipster I am not. The amount of dogs that need homes and are currently in need of rescuing is concerning, but I firmly believe dog ownership is something that you enter with zero doubt, and that doubt is what fills the pounds of today, completing the bitter circle. If I were to opt for the rescue option once more, and to have it not work out, I don’t believe I have it in me to endure the horrors of returning another rescue.

That in itself is disappointing to say, but also the point. The latest family member will be with us for the next 14 years. It’s not coming from a place of elitism or breedism, as I love all dogs, but if we’re truly honest with ourselves, the correct dog for you is indefinable; their eyes say it, and the love you can give is not directly eked from where they’ve come from, but a largesse of that feeling can result in having your opinion kept on the leashes of others.

And that’s not fair on either of you.


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