Friday, December 18, 2009

What's the Buzz?

Uncle George Explains Current Events

"What's the Buzz"?

Today, boys and girls, we will learn all about "buzzwords". 

A "buzzword" is a vogue term that is used in popular culture...usually with the intent to impress the naive. My golly goodness! Such a treasure trove of fun buzzwords to choose from and to use in today's popular culture of animal rights! And the general public, being somewhat naive, is easily impressed by these buzzwords.

Modern animal rights thinking defines dogs as family members; just as important as any two-legged kid, and probably a whole lot more deserving of a great life than your human grandparent. From this family concept, we have developed several trendy ideas. Calling our pets "fur kids", for instance. Get it? "Kids"....with "fur"! Isn't that just too precious! Also, we've taken to calling the dog procurement process an "adoption". This makes sense, considering the fact that dogs are now family members.

Next, it follows that pet owners would be tagged as "guardians". This is sort of a buzzword term for a parent.

To review what we've learned so far; dogs are adopted, they become family members, and they are our "furkids", so an owner now becomes a parent or guardian. Oh yes, and don't worry, we are working on getting you some tax deductions for those four-legged kids too!

Now, let's see. You can start off as a "guardian", as a person who owns a pet or two. Or, you might one day find yourself the owner of multiple pets. Now suddenly, you discover that you are outside the boundaries of legal dog limits. When this happens, you become what is known as a "hoarder".  

You know, it's sort of funny; people can have as many two-legged kids as they want, but for some reason, there is a limit on four-legged kids! It's only legal to hoard the two-legged variety. (Also, no permits or fees are necessary).

Remember this fact for the test, boys and girls! You may not hoard dogs! That's a very important part of today's lesson.

Okay, on to the next chapter. When a "hoarder" decides to breed a litter or two, he then becomes what is known in buzzword land as a "Back Yard Breeder." Unfortunately, at this point, the happy family might run into some problems with social acceptance from friends and neighbors.
If you work hard enough breeding in your back yard, you just might multiply your numbers into a really big family. Once this happens, you then graduate to a whole new level...You become a  "High Volume Breeder", otherwise known to the state as a Commercial Breeder. But, most of the regular folks around town will just call you a "PUPPY MILL"! And watch out when this happens, boys and girls, because usually this means that your neighbors will start to throw rocks through your windows. Oops!
You know, it saves us all a lot of time to call everybody by the same buzzword name. This is one way that we can really simplify life! So let's not call this a family, or a back yard or commercial breeder. That's all just way too complicated! Lets make it simple and just call everyone who breeds dogs a "puppy mill". Hey, if the shoe fits....if you churn out puppies, then you are a puppy mill!

Another way to simplify order to decide how these "puppy mill" people shall be allowed to operate, why, there's no need to bother your pretty little head worrying about how clean the dogs are, or how well they are fed, or how warm they are at night; instead, just count up how many of them there are. Then, make a law that keeps anyone from being a guardian to that many animals. Great idea! I wonder why somebody else hasn't thought of that yet. 

Onward to another important buzzword concept:

"Responsible" owners and breeders are fine.

"Irresponsible" breeders and owners, on the other hand.... Bad. Very bad.

So, we must clearly understand, because this is extra important to everybody looking over your fence...

What is a "responsible dog owner"

Hmm, ideally that would be someone who NEVER allows their dog to have puppies, of course! And they must sterilize their dog! But, at the very least, it is someone who licenses, microchips, confines their dog, doesn't let it bark, dig, chew or bite, takes it out for an occasional walk, brushes it, keeps poop picked up, and food and water out at ALL times.....stuff like that.

Got it? Great! Now that we have that description down pat, let's try one that's a bit more difficult. This is for extra credit points, kids. Next question...

What is a "responsible breeder"?

Well, things get a bit muddled here. That particular definition depends on who you ask!   To most everyday folks, a "responsible breeder" is someone who takes good care of their dogs and finds nice homes for their puppies. Sounds reasonable? Well, not to everybody!

To purebred dog fanciers, that's not quite good enough. To be considered a "responsible breeder" you would need to do all the "responsible owner" stuff, plus register your dog, join a club, go to dog shows, and make sure your furchild becomes an official "Champion". (That's buzzword talk for "my dog's better than your dog.") Also, you need to make sure you spend a lot of money at the vet doing testing. You must put your dog's health history in a public computer database. And, if you ever breed a puppy that eventually develops a health problem; well, you will need to pay a big fine to the new owner. Because... it's All Your Fault. You are, well.....responsible.

And, let's not forget the purebred dog fancier's basic prerequisite for responsible breeding....the dog MUST be PURE bred. You darn sure better not ever mix two breeds together. Or even THINK about breeding a dog that is not purebred. Even health takes a back seat to purity.

Going even further, this group believes that not only are you responsible for your own dogs, but you are responsible to take care of other people's dogs, too. "If you breed, you must rescue", they say. Ah, "rescue"! Another really neat buzzword for an activity that makes us feel much better about how responsible we are!

But, to the govenment, a "responsible breeder" is someone who does all the above PLUS pays lots of money for licenses, vaccines, permits, fees and taxes in order to keep and breed a dog. They must also report new owners to the state so that THEY can also be responsible.

Some people believe that we have a big problem in our country with "pet overpopulation". "Don't breed or buy" they say. To help solve this overpopulation problem, they like to bring rescue dogs into the USA from the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and even as far away as Taiwan! Hundred of thousands of them, every year! Sometimes, these dogs bring in diseases that we have a shortage of right now...rabies, hepatitis, parasites and distemper.

OK now, if you have paid attention so far to our previous lessons, you will remember that "overpopulation" is a buzzword used by animal shelters as an excuse to kill cats and dogs, rather than find homes for them. This buzzword is also used as a reason to pass more laws regulating breeders. Anyone who misses the question about "overpopulation" on the test will get an automatic "F"!

One final note for the day, boys and girls. And this is very important.  Some people believe that animals have rights, just like people. They frown on any guardian who would actually consider selling their fur children. These animal rights people believe that there is no such thing as a "responsible breeder"! This belief was actually printed on their website promoting a law to force all owners to sterilize their pets. But, these people soon discovered that not too many other people actually agreed with them. So now, they are very careful not to say that out loud any more.

These animal rights folks really don't have a definition of responsible breeder. But, they think it just might be a good idea to come up with one anyway, to help cut back on all breeders in general. My how smart they are! And they keep themselves very, very busy advising the government about how to regulate breeders.... ALL breeders! Mostly, everything hinges on whether or not you are "responsible". With a bit of concern about "overpopulation" thrown in for good measure.

OK now, kids. That was a lot for one lesson, but I'm sure you will ace the test! Buzzwords are really easy to remember! 

I hear the bell ringing....see you next time!

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