Ten Commandments from a Dog’s Perspective

We love our pups as family, but — they are still canine! So, are we really understanding their needs?

Within minutes, the Oklahoma tornados left many without shelter or possessions. Families would soon be sifting through piles of wood and rubble they once called their home.  At times of utter loss, what you hold dear becomes quite clear. During live television, a woman spoke of the terrifying moments during the storm. She was frantic with grief with the loss of her dog during the tornado. At that moment, the camera changed focus to a black fuzzy head popping out from under the wreckage. It was her dog!

Not all endings are as happy.

If you were to lose your pup today, would you feel guilty? Whether your answer is yes or no, these tips can bring you closer with your devoted and ever-loving canine.

Dog looks out at lake

  1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years; any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you adopt me.
  2. Give me time to understand what you want from me; don’t be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.
  3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned, not given as an inalienable right.
  4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment; I am not capable of understanding why. I only know I have been rejected. You have your work, entertainment, and friends, but I only have you.
  5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice and your tone. You only have to look at my tail.
  6. Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll never forget it, and if it’s cruel, it may affect me forever.
  7. Please don’t hit me. I can’t hit back, but I can bite and scratch, and I really don’t ever want to do that
  8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right foods or I’ve been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak. It may be I am just dog-tired.
  9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention.
  10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, regardless of what you do, I will always love you.

As published in: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
By Stan Rawlinson,1993


Photo by John M. Wills