Letter to the Editor
Feeling compassion for another life-form, be it dog, cat, horse, donkey, or the animals and birds that we human beings eat, is a fine sentiment to nurture in any one of us; the people who take this one step further, who rescue animals off the street, who find and give them homes, are to be applauded.
However, when bringing a pet into the home, let’s say a dog or a cat, the adopting owner should consider that with every animal come responsibilities to both animal and neighbour. This is especially evident in the case of dogs: not only does the dog require neutering, feeding, grooming, bathing, as well as human companionship; but it also requires training with regular daily exercise walking together with its owner outside of the containment of house and walled garden, where the dog is free to offset the boredom of being contained indefinitely. A dog that is not exercised daily, that is always confined, and goes un-trained, will become a habitual ‘yapper’, barking from boredom, simply for the sake of barking.
This is where the owner, in adopting a dog, should be prepared to accept responsibility towards his neighbours who, if the dog is not stopped, must endure the continuing and unnecessary harassment of a ‘yapper’ in the neighboring yard. Dogs are hugely intelligent (often, it seems, more so than their owners), responsive to reward and affection, loyal and easily trained when the Will to do so is present in the owner. It is written into history that there is no surer way of making bad neighbours, even enemies for life, than having an untrained ‘yapping’ dog next door. Is it worth it? Surely in any closely living community, there can be nothing more precious than a good neighbour – responsible and caring. Train the dog; keep the peace; enjoy the neighbour!