I made a huge mistake this week. I should have known better.
My job is social media. And dogs. Social media and dogs. So I feel like I have to keep up with everything “dog” online. I love dogs, so it isn’t that rough. I mean ruff. I forgot where I was for a moment. But for an instant this week, I did what I knew that I should not. I voiced a clear, concise opinion on a social media group that I belonged to. And I knew as soon as I hit “post”, well, that was a mistake. But I couldn’t help myself.
I have never claimed to be a professional “anything”. The truth is, I have simply spent years of my life researching anything related to my dogs. Health, food, vaccinations, vet care, pet industry news…I could go on and on. I take pride in the fact that although I certainly don’t know everything about dogs, I know enough. I have made mistakes, I have learned lessons. But the amazing thing is, I love this journey. So my passion for what I do, raising awareness for animal rescue, showing people how to make their dogs’ food and treats, and how to live a life that is worth remembering with your dog is something I enjoy. I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t do anything else. But. As much passion as I have for what I believe in when it comes to caring for my dog, people think differently than me. And that’s ok. What is not ok? How did I make a mistake this week on social media? Oh, let me explain.
There I was, on a typical morning, scrolling through my newsfeed. And I saw the post in a camping and pets online group. I camp. I have pets. Good group to belong to, I thought.
The typical “where can I camp with my dog in this location” was there. And the “how do you deal with having no internet, how do you deal with living in a small space with a mastiff, how many dogs can you have at camp”…so many posts. But one post stopped me. “How do you control fleas and ticks on the road when you are camping?”. I took a moment, reading the replies. Reply after reply recommended one product over another. One chemical concoction over another. And I kept reading. Would anyone recommend a natural approach? Would anyone give an experience of something that worked for them other than chemicals? Not. One. Person. And you guessed it. I decided to post my opinion. I decided to let them know first off that I was speaking from experience. I let them know that I had traveled across the United States five times with my two dogs. I let them know that we had not used chemicals in five years. I told them to do a little research, dependent on what area that they lived in, and to think about perhaps not using chemicals if there was an option. And that was it. I didn’t think twice about reading anyone’s reply, because I would have never expected the replies I got.
“You are judgmental. Who do you think you are?”
“These flea control companies care about our dogs. You are going to kill your dogs”.
“There are no alternatives to chemicals. We all need to douse our yards with chemicals, our cars, our houses.”
I thought to myself that I probably should just let it go. I knew by the tone that it was a mistake to speak up again. But I have learned in the last two years, when it comes to animals, and the quality of their lives, someone HAS to speak up. Even if I am in the minority, and even if someone disagrees with me. So I thanked everyone for caring for their dogs. And I truly meant this. Their love for their dogs must be there, because otherwise, they wouldn’t care about fleas at all. But mistaking passion and love for judging someone else in how they care for their dog, or when they have a different opinion than ourselves is just not right. It isn’t right for them…it isn’t right for me. And I know this. As passionate as I believe in what I do, I still have to thank others for doing what they can do. What I do want is for people to simply stop. Think for yourselves. Don’t believe what you read from a company that is trying to turn a profit. If there is a child warning on the label, how is it ok to put it on your dog?
I am not naive to the fact that there are individual circumstances out there…millions of them. And we all have different financial circumstances as well. But all that we have tried to do for years when it comes to animal rescue, food for your dogs, treatments for your dogs, treats for your dogs, is to let you know that you have CHOICES. Natural choices aren’t always the easy ones because often, they are time consuming. When I chose to not use flea or tick treatments, even though we were traveling thru 48 states, I knew it was going to be hard. I used baking soda on the carpet every day, apple cider vinegar on the dogs every time they came in and out. I cleaned everything in the car and RV every day with vinegar. I put garlic in their food. But despite all of that, we have had a flea outbreak twice. I quickly got it under control, but I was frustrated. So yeah, it isn’t easy. But I also remember the days when we used chemicals and still had outbreaks.
I also understand that making your dog’s food is harder than buying a bag of kibble. Yet, I will never change my opinion that fresh food is better. I have witnessed the changes in my dogs, and that is all the evidence I need. Do I do everything right? No way. I have changed courses many times over the past few years to a 100% cooked diet to including a raw diet as well. But I won’t ever let a dog food company or a vet that gets commission from selling dog food tell me that I can’t do it. Because I have.
But having said all of this, let me also say that I respect your opinion if you disagree. The truth is, if we all care enough to take care of our pets in TRULY the best way that we can, we ARE doing the right thing. For the millions of animals who are in our nation’s shelters alone, who have no one to care for them, your pet is fortunate. And we thank you.
But if you in fact choose to use alternative, natural treatments to take care of your dog, please don’t make the mistake I did this week. I let other’s opinions of me and the harshness of their words make me rethink my choices. I let them undo years of education and hours of research. Just because the majority thinks something is right, does not mean that it is. If you have chosen to use alternative or natural treatments to care for or feed your dog, or even treatments for illness, I applaud you. Using common sense, balance and bravery is key to living a natural life with our dogs.
Whatever our choices are though, remember that others have a right to theirs. When there is a difference of opinion, that can be a great thing. It opens up discussion, and we all love to talk about our dogs. So let’s respect each other and do what we do best…take care of our dogs!
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-Rachael Johnson, Owner, 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner
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