Marketing is a powerful tool.
A good marketing plan can shape how we feel, how we act, how we move, how we eat, what we eat, where we live, what we think, and so on. Sit back and think for a moment, what are you currently doing in your life that has not been shaped by marketing on some level? hmmm
During the past decade, one of the most powerful marketing trends in the United States has been focused on adopting pets from Rescues and Shelters. Ethically, morally, socially, and neighborly, it has been marketed as not only the cool thing to do, but the responsible thing to do. This in and of itself is great, animals in need of forever homes garnering attention in every corner of America. A spot light on those animals that for whatever reason need a better, and more suitable home than the one they started with. And because this marketing trend surpasses the animal world, is backed by movie stars, politicians, and the uber wealthy, it is very successful! Yay for the animals!
Some dogs that have come from shelters and rescues have made the headlines over the years; Agility Champions, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs, Canines for Conservation, and cherished family pets that turn out to have a lot of talent. These stories bring another layer to this marketing trend. Sometimes you can find that diamond in the rough, and how cool is that.
But not all are remarkable, or pretty, or talented. Some are simple, some with lack luster looks, some have seen evil, some have experienced dangerous situations, many have lived in dysfunction, some are timid, some are just simply not the right fit for the humans that chose them. And there are plenty more reasons why these dogs end up in transition with rescues and shelters. And believe it or not, this is great for marketing too. There are a plethora of people with very deep and kind hearts who are looking for a dog to cherish. They want to help the under dog. Provide a safe place, give them hope, experience happiness, and let them fly.
Just as every dog in transition has their own story, every person that wants a dog has their own reasons.
But here is my question, or statement, or opinion, or observation. I’m not sure what it is because depending on the day it seems to take on a new life form.
This powerful marketing trend to adopt is good and right on all levels, I support that. But this same marketing trend has kept these dogs carrying around their baggage from their past life for way too long. Marketing has shaped us to continue to use the terms ‘my rescue’, ‘he/she’s a rescue’, ‘it’s a rescue’, ‘pound puppy’, or ‘second hand mutt’. But why? Once you adopt your dog aren’t they now yours? Shouldn’t we be using the term ‘MY DOG’. Let them leave their past life behind and move on, a fresh start, re framing how the world works in a better way, hopefully.
There seems to be some moral or ethical Brownie Badge when you refer to your dog as ‘my rescue’. In that one word phrase you have let, whoever you are talking too, know that you have done a good thing out of the kindness of your heart. I have never seen the same emotional response in a conversation by just saying ‘this is my dog’. Ta Da, MY DOG!
Sometimes marketing plans that work so well on us humans, and shape our behavior, can back fire on our dogs. Many times, dogs that are adopted and called ‘a rescue’ are thought to be less intelligent by some, less trainable, less social, less of everything. ‘Rescue’ can be a powerful word picture for some people. Odd, anti social, over the top behaviors are sometimes tolerated, because, well you know, it’s a ‘Rescue’. What?
When a person commits to the words, ‘my dog’, they cannot blame or excuse their human behavior or their dogs behavior on the past. It is pretty defining, and requires accountability in my opinion, or rather my world. My dog, my responsibility, my companion, my joy, my life, my world. It is full commitment, committing to another living being, fully and totally without any verbal barrier or excuses, or dismissals because of their previous experiences.
Whether you refer to yourself as a guardian or an owner, do it fully, not half way. Rescue a dog, adopt a dog, but then call them yours. My Dog.
After all, I don’t believe they can be re rescued every single day for the rest of their lives in the same home with the same person. How freaking exhausting would that be!
Nancy, who is currently surrounded by four sleeping dogs, who are all My Dogs.