Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vets tell us that throwing a stick for your dog is dangerous!

I just read that Vets in NZ and elsewhere have condemned the throwing of sticks for your doggie to retrieve. Is this PC for dogs a bit over-the-top? Hell no. IT is about time that we curtailed this terrible practice. I am so over it. I throw my much reduced weight behind the efforts of the ‘Doggie control, spoil the fun council. Oops, that doesn’t exist-----yet!
I must take a balanced look at this pronouncement. Since dogs invaded our psyches and became an integral and very loyal part of our lives, they have demanded attention. We feed them, brush them and play---which usually means at least one daily walk. For most dog owners that walk includes a ‘toy.’ You can choose the flash pet-store variety or turn to nature and pick up a stick and throw it. In the case of my dog, a manic Jack Russell, the bigger the stick the better. She often responded best to huge sticks, several times her size.
She would take that stick and challenge other dogs to attempt a ‘hand-over.’ Then the battle would begin. It didn’t take me long to realize the threat to dogs and to humanity. She enjoyed nothing more than a threesome. Before you get your hackles up, I mean she would tempt two other dogs to join in and they would have a three-way tug of war-----at speed. It may have looked funny, but if you or any other peace-minded dog got in the way of this Boadicea-like entourage, then their chances of coming off unscathed were much reduced. That crazy rush of dog-propelled mischief was enough to graze human knees and lower legs and probably sent many other dogs to a psychiatrist.
I decided to at least limit the size of the potential weapon but I remained a bit wary of throwing sticks. The report I read this morning talked about possible injuries re mouth parts and teeth. Yes, we have all been in the position of throwing the stick, but maybe the vets are correct. I am not saying don’t do it at all. Perhaps it comes down to being aware and keeping a close watch on the type of stick your use; one that will not easily splinter and one that won’t injure us dog daddies and mummies.
I have long preferred throwing a ball. OK, I admit it--- I can’t throw anything that far anyway and I don’t want the young people to continually ‘show me up’ when they offer to throw the ball or stick so much further than I possibly can. I just make myself feel ‘inflated’ by using one of those ‘throwers.’ Wow---watch out Valery Adams. I feel like an Olympian!