Monday, January 20, 2014

Dogs Think and Feel Just Like We Do - Why Do Tail Dockers NOT Know This?

Photo of Pixel Blue Eyes (right) with her sister Dixie Mae, a Dachshund
Dogs think and feel just like we humans do. They feel joy, they feel pain, they feel fear, sadness, loss, confusion, uncertainty and contentment, just like we do. They trust us to take care of them, protect them, love them and let no harm come to them. It is our responsibility to care for them, as they are like tiny children...helpless without us, unable to fully care for themselves and dependent on our wisdom, love and care.

Image showing Pixel Blue Eyes the day she was brought home with Jenny LewisHow truly sad is it then, that there are many people out in the world who never give a thought to how a dog or puppy, much less any animal, feels. It is sad to make that statement about some people, but it is a truth that causes so much suffering for dogs who have their tail docked when they are puppies. How can you look at a tiny face like this and choose to harm them by cutting off their tail? How can you NOT think about how it will affect them, physically, mentally, emotionally, and for the long term?

Image of Pixel Blue Eyes as an 11 week old puppy
I know for an absolute fact that Pixel's tail docking and the pain she endured for so long after it was done had a direct impact on her issues of fear & uncertainty with humans, and her socialization with other dogs. Think about it...a tiny puppy is taken from it's dog Mommy, held (or held down) down by humans and forced to endure a cruel removal of their tail with no anesthesia, no pain medicine, nothing but gut wrenching pain and nobody cares. After the "procedure" is done, the puppy is put back with it's Mom and their brothers and sisters who have also just been traumatized beyond measure. The nerves, which are extremely sensitive at this delicate time, are on fire, stabbing, stinging, shooting pain all through their tiny body. Do not doubt for a second that they don't feel it. These puppies' systems are in pain overdrive. The humans do nothing to help end the pain they are in, and they are surrounded by other puppies suffering in their own mini nightmare. Over the next several weeks, when life should be only about eating, learning to stand, walk, void on their own, and play with their siblings, these puppies are going through shock, suffering in pain silently, having nerve bundles form at the raw nub that was just created for no reason, they are having developmental delays, getting infections, and having a whole host of other issues they should never be experiencing. How can life start out well for any dog in this type of situation?
Take a look sometime, at "puppies up for sale" online by breeders who dock. Since Pixel is a mini schnauzer, go ahead and just do a "Google" search for "mini schnauzer puppies for sale" and see if you can find a single "happy" looking young puppy. Look at their faces, look at their eyes they are in distress, they are in pain. You can see it on their faces!

Dogs are incredibly intelligent. They learn how to do things, they problem solve, they figure things out. Dogs do learn to adapt, not always in good ways, but they try their best. Dogs, are very emotive beings, whether they have suffered in their life or not. They can sense when something is wrong and they know when someone is either sick or upset almost instantaneously. Pixel has been especially in tune with the emotions and physical well being of every person in our family. It's amazing how Pixel can just come up to me, put her paw on my knee and let me know "it's all going to be okay." I wish we could make it "all okay" for the countless puppies that will be born and have their tails removed.

I try to do this for Pixel, trying to help her feel secure, and letting her know it will be "okay", especially when she has episodes with her long term docked tail pain. I comfort her whenever I see she is in distress, or is going after her tail when it starts to act up. I've figured out several ways to comfort her over the years, and I know she trusts me to at least try to "make the pain go away".

No matter who you are, whether you have a docked tail dog, you are a breeder, you are thinking of adopting/rescuing/purchasing a dog from a breeder (with a docked tail), or you have a dog you are thinking of docking, please, always think of the physical, mental, emotional and long term feelings of the dog or puppy. We MUST do them no harm, and seek to find ways to help them thrive.

How can you look upon an innocent face and think that removing their tail is your "right"? No one should look at tail docking as a "right", because it is hurting countless numbers of puppies and dogs. Tail docking is a physical maiming of a tiny life, a life that deserves to be pain free, a life that deserves to have a full tail. If you can look at these puppies, these dogs and think of them as innocent children who seek our protection, it might help you see that tail docking is not necessary. It does no good for the dog, it only causes harm.

No matter what the tail docking advocates say, docking does not keep a dog cleaner, it does not protect them from getting a tail injury, it does not help "working dogs" work better, but tail docking DOES cause immense pain, suffering and emotional and physical damage to puppies from the moment that tail is removed. It has been scientifically proven that puppies feel even more pain than an adult dog. I cannot imagine the suffering that each little puppy undergoes during a tail docking. (Unfortunately there are videos out there that show puppies getting their tails docked. Trust me, they suffer!) It would be like a human having surgery with no anesthesia, or having a finger accidentally chopped off in a saw accident, and then not being given any pain medicine afterwards. No follow up care, nothing. How cruel!

Puppies feel pain, physical and emotionally, so we must not allow tail docking to continue. So many docked tail dogs continue to suffer throughout their lives because of what was done to them as a puppy. Pixel is just one of many dogs who has chronic pain, episodes of their tail stinging, and stabbing them with pain and discomfort. During those times, even with pain medicine and lots of love, Pixel must wear this collar to keep her from trying to "stop the pain" herself. It's not fair or right that she must endure all this. We cannot reverse what has already been done, but we can make change for future puppies and dogs. Please help us be a voice for change!

HELP US BE A VOICE FOR CHANGE! Join Pixel Blue Eyes and No Tail Left Behind as we educate about the terrible dangers and painful truths of tail docking. Every dog deserves a tail!
No Tail Left Behind on Facebook
@NoTailLeftBhind on Twitter

Please read an earlier No Tail Left Behind blog post detailing signs that your dog is suffering from docked tail pain.
Here is some further information online that supports the fact that tail docking harms many more dogs than it helps with data to back it up:
1. Study done regarding tail injuries (PDF)
2. New Zealand campaign to end tail docking (lots of great links!)
3. Information detailing how puppies feel pain
4. Dogster Article on Tail Docking including interview with well respected U.S. Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Renewed Sense of Purpose for No Tail Left Behind

It's a new year, and Pixel Blue Eyes and I am so excited about all the possibilities 2014 holds for us as we continue our work to bring awareness about the dangers and truths of tail docking, a cruel, painful practice that is unnecessary and has long lasting negative effects for hundreds of thousands of dogs. Our message is so important, and I feel a renewed sense of purpose to create a greater awareness of just how detrimental tail docking is to hundreds of thousands of puppies and dogs all over the world...dogs just like Pixel, who has suffered chronic pain her whole life from being docked as a puppy.

Image of Pixel Blue Eyes dog under a blanket during a painful tail pain episode
We still have a long way to go before everyone understands what really happens to the physiology of little puppies when tail docking is done. Remember that docking a tail is the amputation of muscles, tendons, bone, vertebrae and nerves. That type of trauma to a body part has lasting effects. Although not all dock tailed dogs show signs and symptoms of the pain & trauma they are put through, so many of them are silently suffering. Why should anyone think that is okay? Why should tail docking still be allowed because some dogs "seem okay with it"? Dogs are silent sufferers, but often exhibit suffering in unusual behaviors. We talk about some of the signs that a dog is suffering from docked tail pain in a previous post.

No Tail Left Behind - Because every dog deserves a tail poster with Pixel Blue Eyes - With this renewal in our efforts for this year, we ask that you join us in sharing this important message. Tail docking is a form of cruelty, and cruelty cannot be tolerated. We will remain steadfast and faithful in telling the truth about the terrible effects of tail docking until it has been banned worldwide.
We will forever be in it to end it. Why? Because EVERY DOG DESERVES A TAIL!

Please support us by LIKING our No Tail Left Behind Facebook page, following us on Twitter (@NoTailLeftBhind), and sharing this message.