Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why I Left the Online Dog Community

It's no secret. I love dogs. I have for as long as I can remember. I got my first dog, a Beagle named Max, when I was 7, after years of begging and pleading. We did everything wrong with Max. We bought him from a pet store in the mall. We fed him bad food. We didn't train him worth anything. He was under exercised, under socialized, and lived mostly outside for the majority of his life. Even so, I loved that dog. I spent countless hours in my back yard with Max, and always snuck him into my room when my mom wasn't home.
I always wanted a big dog, and I always wanted an inside dog. So, after years of hearing "When you're an adult and pay your own bills you can have whatever dog you want." that's exactly what I did. I moved out, and have not been without a BIG inside dog my entire adult life.
I can't really think of anything that has brought more joy into my life than my animals. I love them dearly and have so much respect for canine life. So, naturally, years ago I became heavily involved with the online dog community and have been ever since. Being a member of several Facebook groups, attending every single local dog event possible, and moderating one of the biggest canine nutrition forums on the internet, you see a lot of the same people over and over again. The community is huge in the sense it spreads across the whole world. On the other hand, it's incredibly small in that it's the same things over and over.
For a long time I really enjoyed sharing and learning with other dog enthusiasts. For once, I had found a place that it wasn't weird and socially awkward to love dogs more than people!
But, over time, it wasn't so fun anymore. There is so much judgement. It's like a parenting community... only weirder. Every single decision you make regarding your pet's life is subject to cruel and harsh criticism. What you feed is a measure of how much you love your animals. Whether or not you spay or neuter dictates if you care about your animals. How frequently you walk your dog is a measure of your dedication. Every. Little. Decision. is subject to be ripped apart by complete strangers.
And even more so, as a breeder thee's a certain level of transparency that has to be maintained. What I feed. Where I buy my dogs. What health testing I do. How I select breeding pairs. Who has litters and when. How many litters I have in a year. How many litters my females have in their lifetime. If you rehome retired adults. All of these things are decisions that I make after a lot of thought, research, and always with their best interest in mind. It's truly hurtful when after that much dedication and heart and soul is put into something, to be ripped apart, lied about, and talked about.
I've been told I don't care about my puppies because I let them go to homes that feed kibble. I've been told I don't care about the breed because my dogs are the wrong color. (yeah. for real.)
I've watched as breeders turn from best friends to worst enemies over stud service, puppy sales, and general gossip. There is SO MUCH GOSSIP in the dog community, especially the breeding community.
I've reached a point where it's just not important to me anymore. I love my dogs. I will always do right by them, but I'm done feeling the need to explain and justify myself to complete strangers with nothing better to do than sit online and gossip all day.Even more so, I'm done listening to the gossip, the hate and the drama. I don't care.
I've made some WONDERFUL friends in this community. Friends I cherish so much, and for that I am grateful. I own a pet care business and I enjoy so much talking with pet owners in that setting. But this community... online... is a huge negative force in my life. It's not enjoyable, it's not fun, it's not friendly, and it's not positive. I simply don't need it.
As a moderator of a forum, I found myself CONSTANTLY disappointed, repulsed, and disgusted at people's behavior. That's not how I want to think of people. I'm amazed at the hurt that people cause without a second thought because it's so easy for them to sit behind a computer and not have to be accountable for their words and actions, and don't have to witness the damage caused by their words.
So, in an effort to remove negativity from my life...  I'm done. I'm keeping in contact with my puppy families, and ALWAYS will be there for them. I value the real friendships I've found, and will of course keep in touch with them. But otherwise, I'm ready to shift my focus back to reality. To focus on MY dogs, and no one else's. To spend more time with family, to make decisions based only on what's right for myself and my dogs, and not worry about what people will think.
Will I still breed Great Danes? I'm sure I will occasionally. But, I'm done acquiring dogs, pedigree chasing, and feeling like I have to make decisions based on a breeding program. If I happen to have a worthy pair, who happen to pass all health testing, and I happen to have enough interest, we will breed. But if at any point my current dogs are deemed unworthy of breeding, that's fine. They will be pets and I have no need to acquire for the sake of breeding. None.

1 comment:

  1. there is not one thing that i could say better .. UGH ! i know exactly what you mean on every single thing you said !! which i why i too backed off from all of them including my OWN ! no thanks im good !! i have things to do HERE ! i dont care about their opinions,drama, CRAP !