There’s been debate as of late in regards to temperament testing in animal shelters, as to whether or not this is a good idea or even necessary. Then there’s this:
The exercise purports to evaluate “resource guarding” — how viciously a dog will protect a possession, such as food, toys, people. Common-sense owners wouldn’t grab a dog’s food while it is eating.
Most wouldn’t. Then there was my mother.
My mother firmly believed that she should be able to take food, toys, whatever she damn well pleased, from the mouth of any dog she owned. If the dog reacted with snarling, lunging or any attempts to bite, she would–in her words–“beat the hell out of” the animal. She wanted total, utter and complete obedience.
Needless to say, that translated to how she raised her child, me. She wanted obedience, complete and utter obedience. She did not want me to question anything. She did not want me to act in any fashion other than the way she wanted me to act. I was punished for “having an attitude” or for “talking back” or for “not doing as I was told”. When I was six, my mother slapped me across the face as hard as she could. Why? Because I was crying and tell her that the way she was telling me to head my school paper was wrong.
Mom tells this story and she laughs. To her, it’s a joke. It’s always made me uncomfortable, for obvious reasons.
To this day, my mother sees nothing wrong in treating a dog this way. She decries animal abuse in so many forms but doesn’t seem to see it in herself. To her, she’s the “alpha”, the one in charge and no one should dare challenge that. Not man nor animal.
A friend of mine, not believing what I had said of my childhood wanted to know if I had been “made to live outside with the dogs”. I can honestly say that no, I wasn’t.
But we were treated exactly the same.