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What Dogs Need to Be Happy
By Sherry Woodard
Most dogs are loving, intelligent, and loyal. They want nothing more than to be members
of a family, part of the pack. They give unconditional love, but they need love, attention,
and kindness in return. In this fast-paced world, we all have so much to do that a dog’s
needs can be easily forgotten. Some dog owners may not even realize how much
attention a dog needs for him or her to live a happy life. This story illustrates how this
“benign neglect” can happen:
Cowboy is a Border collie mix. When he was brought home as a
puppy from a local shelter, his adoptive family thought the world
of him. The boys spent hours playing in the yard with Cowboy,
and every night he climbed into bed with one of the kids. In the
beginning, it seemed like there wasn’t enough of Cowboy to go
around – he was very much a part of the family.
Slowly, however, things began to change. As Cowboy grew into an
adult dog, he started losing his puppy charm. The family started
feeling that he required too much attention. He had never had
training, and the antics that were cute when he was a puppy were
now annoying. He had never been taught the difference between
appropriate and rough play, so the boys avoided playing with him.
His uncontrolled exuberance in the house caused him to break
things. When he scratched a visiting child, he was exiled to the
backyard from that day on.
The family bought Cowboy a nice doghouse and new, bigger bowls for food and water.
The boys were assigned the job of feeding Cowboy and keeping his water bowl filled. As
the days passed, however, the boys stopped giving Cowboy daily meals. They just filled
his big bowl every two days; his water was often dirty and warm.
One day, the family came home and Cowboy was gone. They found a hole that Cowboy
had dug under the fence. His family walked the streets near their home, calling his
name. They found him at the park – the boys used to play with him there