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  • Robert Berkelhammer

“You’re Abusing Your Dog!” Well-Intentioned Folks - Look Deeper Within Instead of Controlling Other

A third-generation Spaniel owner was guiding his orthopedically struggling senior dog up a hill. A well-intentioned stranger misinterpreted what was occurring and said: “You’re abusing your dog!”

Certain senior dogs need strong leash pulling and support to negotiate a hill, whether suffering from hip dysplasia or not. I know this senior dog has led a quality long life due to the owners commitment to exercise, rest, fresher food, and affection. I have walked elderly dogs on hills since 2007 and recognize how a taut leash occurs for effective walking support. Sometimes walkers literally pull a senior dog up and over a difficult landscape. Sometimes a senior dog falls over on rugged hilly terrain. Occasionally we lift and carry an older dog a short distance.

The over emotional well-intentioned stranger was ignorant of how this wonderful pet family long ago implemented strategies to help their aging dog thrive. The phrase “Use it or lose it” applies to elderly dogs guided by learned owners to exercise and use their cardiovascular and musculoskeletal physiology during different seasons and on various terrain. This lifestyle invites social stimulation with friendly people and dogs.

My suggestion for strangers unaware of individual pet family relationships is to reflect deeper and take a few breaths before mistakenly trying to take control of a situation they don’t understand, and shouldn’t try to control by intervening with insulting language.

We can be guided by a principal that we would like “To do unto others as we would have them do unto you.”

Robert Berkelhammer is the Author of Pet Care Givers & Families: Getting the Most From Dog Playgroups, Pet Sitters, and Walkers. Also, see our MULTI-USE FAMILY PET CARE CONTRACT, a must-have organizing tool for you, your family, pet care professionals, and most importantly your pets!

Please consider helping me continue my important work helping pets as I develop as pet care professional and expert. All Donors will receive a free copy of the 16-page Family Pet Contract! Learn more

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