“We Sent Him off to a Nice Farm”
My husband Mark sent me a link today to an article from my favorite sources, The Onion. The article pokes fun at Brett Favre’s recent retirement in a story that describes how has Brett was “sent off to live on a farm.”
Mocking a rich, famous, football player by saying that the only humane thing to do for him in his retirement is to put him out of his misery is entertaining. But sadly, the metaphorical basis of the story is a custom that’s still
executed followed in today’s society.
A farm can be a wonderful place for a dog to live. Chores to do. Space to roam in. A caring family that looks after you.
Or maybe not….
In today’s world there are far more high-energy dogs than farms for them to live on. It’s rare to find a farmer who doesn’t have all the dogs he wants or needs – if not more.
Still – the myth that there’s a farm waiting to take in every wild, untrained, out-of-control dog whose owner is tired of it survives.
Do irresponsible people really dump dogs off along roads in rural areas because they believe that farm families will take the dogs in and care for them? Do they really believe that on a farm, one more dog won’t be a burden?
Do they truly believe that their dog’s wild misbehavior won’t be a problem around children and free range chickens? Don’t they care that, even if he’s taken in, the dog may be killed by heavy equipment, agricultural chemicals and other hazards of farm life?
When I was young, parents sometimes told children that the dog had been “sent off to live on a farm” after it was killed. This story could be used if the killing was accidental or if the dog was put down for problem behavior.
And even as kids, we didn’t believe it.
Farmers want and need real working dogs. Trained stockdogs. Livestock guard dogs that spend their puppyhood being socialized to sheep instead of people. Trained hunting dogs to help hunt birds or control vermin.
And except in the very rarest of cases, these aren’t the dogs that end up dumped by the side of the road.
The dog that won’t come when it’s called. The dog that bit a child. The dog that was difficult to house break. The bitch that carries a litter of unwanted puppies. The old dog that needs expensive veterinary care.
These are the unfortunate four-legged souls who get tossed out like roadside trash. And even the worst of them deserves a kinder fate.