A few nights ago I reluctantly tuned into “Shark Tank,” as that was the most entertaining of my television options. It’s a show where men and women present their business plans to a panel of potential investors. The first presenter to appear was a woman that had created Puppy Cake birthday cakes for dogs. “How cute! I celebrate my dogs’ birthdays all the time!” was my reaction. The investors did not find it as appealing, however. I was taken aback at how these men unashamedly bashed the idea and did not understand the attraction…. one of them even asked “Why don’t you just feed your dog regular human cake?” Gasp! Doesn’t everyone know the unique gastrointestinal system of a dog? Doesn’t everyone want to spoil their dog and give them the best? Doesn’t everyone LOVE dogs?? Well, turns out, no.
I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm surrounded by animals and took to them with open arms, even before I was out of the womb. Formulated from a mix of heredity and environment, I am a dog/cat/horse/parrot/ferret/bear/tiger/bunny/cow/guinea pig person through and through. Not everyone is, and that is something my open mind and I need to remember. We were all raised differently - we all have different affections, likes, dislikes, preferences, fears, wants and needs. Dogs just might not fit into some people’s worlds and I can’t judge them for that.
In the meantime, I will invite people into my world with education. Even with my love of animals from conception, I continue to be educated by animal experts via various forms (one-on-one interaction, social media, newspaper and magazine articles, television). With every new item I learn - such as the benefits of spaying/neutering, the devastation of puppy mills, the importance of rescuing, the value of high-quality pet food, the significance of positive reinforcement training – I try to spread the word. Some of these topics are just misunderstood, or some people haven’t been taught the details of a subject such as rescuing vs. breeding. Many times our gut reaction is to get angry with them – “how dare you not know!” This will only make them get defensive, pull back or feel unintelligent. Spreading the word with patience, composure and sincerity might open the ears of those otherwise closed off to the animal world.
We’re not going to win everyone over, and I will accept that. Some people can’t fathom why I care for a dog in a wheelchair – “he’s just a dog.” He may be just a dog to you, my friend, but to me he is my heart. I will just hug him a little extra hard tonight and snap a few more pictures of his cuteness. It’s okay that some people just don’t get that, and maybe will never comprehend that. Fortunately, plenty of people do, or are willing to learn. Like me. Like you.
As for the Puppy Cake Lady? She got immense support from the people that DO get it. After her Shark Tank failure, she has received many emails of support and has sold over 10,000 boxes. Yay!