Dogs Are Not Disposable

Dogs are Not Disposable

Dogs have been our companions for over 3000 years.  We have asked them to not only watch over us while we sleep but to help us survive and throughout history humans and canines have learned to not only co-exist but to rely on one another for the betterment of both species.

In 2010, dogs have come to our sides as our companions but more recently we humans, have incorporated our canine companions to take the place of our children filling a void or a desire to care for something each and every day.  While this is acceptable and dogs are more and more likely not to perform what they were initially bred and designed to do for us, I am perplexed at the notion that we humans still consider our best friends as personal property and even worse as disposable.

In my line of work, I train dogs to perform what they were bred and designed to do.  Yes I train dogs as companions and wonderful pets, but I bred and train service dogs and sled dogs.  Service dogs provide the highest level of companionship, warmth, and desire to make our lives better in whatever way they can.

I have written before about service dogs and their importance and simply about the definition of a service dog.

When a disabled person contacts me and requests a service dog, I do whatever I can to match a specific dog to their personality and their needs so that ultimately there is a good bond from the moment they meet.  This unfortunately isn’t always the best route.  In other words, any dog I have trained will perform the duties necessary to any handler they are with.

Recently, I placed one of my psychiatric service dogs with a new client.  From the beginning the training and bonding process was compromised.  Too many adjustments and not enough desire by the handler to even work with the dog or let the dog work for them and after just 90 days I have decided to do something I have never been asked to do nor have I even considered doing it – I have pulled the dog back from this handler and I have placed him back into intensive training to re-prepare him for a handler who not only needs him but will work with him.

If you or someone you know is in need of a service dog to assist you in returning back to work, school, or even just getting back to normalcy please take into consideration that we take steps in making the transition as to not overwhelm or make the process too fast.  A psychiatric service dog means freedom in just as many ways to his handler as a mobility service dog means to a disabled person in a wheelchair.

I pride my service dog business on the fact that we do not require an application process nor is there a waiting period.  I have tried to make obtaining a service dog a dignified process rather than another degrading process that the handler must go through.

Dogs are not disposable.  Whatever you get a dog for take the pledge and be responsible for your dog for his/her lifetime and weather the good and bad.  You wouldn’t drop off your child at a shelter because it wasn’t a good fit!


Michele Forto is the Denver Dog Training Examiner, the owner of Denver Dog Works and the co-host of the popular, Dog Doctor Radio Show.

One Response to Dogs Are Not Disposable

  1. Animals are sentient beings capable of thought, feeling and intuition at times far beyond humans. They are in our lives to teach us lessons – if we let them. In this particular case and by her own admission the author is ignoring the mysterious and magical bond occurring between a particular human and animal by reducing their interactions with each other to a matter of training and performance of tasks. I think it begs the question of who exactly is treating dogs as disposable. Are they simply objects to be trained for business purposes or are they gifted creatures who mirror for us the worst and best part of ourselves – in this case the author’s inability to admit the match was not a good one and to respect and honor the animal and the client by not placing blame?

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