Monday, 19 July 2010

'Home Alone' Dog Dies

This news article about a dog who died after being dropped off by a 'professional' dog carer clearly shows why I don't look after 'Home Alone' dogs. If owners are out during the day that's one thing, but if an owner goes away overnight I will not look after the dog. And yes, I've lost business because of it.

Dogs aren't cats - they can't look after themselves in the same way, and humans have changed the shape of dogs to such an extent they really need a lot of care and attention. Owners should not expect them to be safe if they are left for such a long period of time.

Professionals also shouldn't leave dogs in distress alone! Whether or not an 'enclosed van' (what does that mean??) is an appropriate method of transport for any sort of pet in hot weather, it seems there was enough concern from people seeing the dog that a professional should have taken steps to ensure the safety of that dog. However, I have only read the news reports. Only a court can decide if the company involved was negligent.

I will comment in general though.

Dog safety, health and welfare is MORE IMPORTANT than an owner's wishes. This may be because the owner is not aware of how hot or cold the area they leave their dog really is. It may be that they feel the dog is okay to run around in hot weather when the dog's breed or colour determines that it is not, or that the dog can do more exercise, or needs less exercise than it really does. Or they might not understand the implications of their requests, such as leaving a dog alone overnight - or asking a cat sitter to only visit every 2 days, or even worse, every 3! As pet professionals, our job is to put the safety of the dogs (and cats, plus anything else!) FIRST. We should advise owners of any issues if their wishes clash with this aim, and if there is no resolution or change, we have to walk away.

We should absolutely NOT grab the money and run.

I will be keeping my eye on this case to see what happens.