Category Archives: Dog Welfare

How Safe Is Your Dog From Dog-Theft?

I don’t even have the heart to add a photo to this post.  A few days ago, there was a spate of dog thefts in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. To say this sickens me is a huge understatement.  Although the reasons for the thefts are unclear, there are often disturbing motives behind these acts.  In many of these cases, pet dogs may be stolen in order to be used as breeding dogs in puppy mills or used in dog-fighting rings. There are some even worse motives (if you can imagine that) but I won’t delve into that here because it is too horrifying.

These dog thefts are happening in suburban Melbourne! I know I shouldn’t ruminate on these things, but I am filled with anxiety about the fate of these dogs.  To keep myself sane, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at ways in which we can keep our dogs safe.

1. Don’t leave your dog in  your car.  

This is a bad idea on many levels (dogs have died of heatstroke in cars, even when you don’t think it’s that hot), but dogs alone in a car are a prime target for thieves.

2.  Do not leave your dog tied to poles outside whilst you shop. 

Theft is one concern. Another is a child going up to the dog and surprising the dog (when the dog then growls or bites, it will be put down).  Some people might be cruel to the dog or taunt the dog. Anything can happen; please avoid doing this.

3.  Ensure your yard is gated properly and secure. 

Better yet, don’t leave your dog unattended in the yard when you’re not at home.  Try and train your dog to be able to stay inside the house when you’re away.  If you’re worried about your dog being destructive inside, consider investing in a crate, which can be a good method of short-term containment of a dog for a couple of hours whilst you’re away.

4. Make sure your dog has all identification tags and paperwork.

Ensure your dog is microchipped, wearing his collar with tags and is registered with the council.

5. Keep recent photos of your dog, in case the worst does happen.

Try to take photos of any identifying features. For instance, Charlie has a white streak of hair on his chest.

6.  Consider installing pet cameras at your home to keep an eye on things when you’re not there.

Do you have any other tips?  Let’s add to this list to keep every dog safe.

If anyone has information on the dog thefts in Melbourne, please contact:

 Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit

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What I Know For Sure


When you are young, you see the world in black and white.

You say things like “I would never….” or “I will always…”.  As you get older, life becomes peppered with more shades of grey.  Your ‘nevers’ turn into ‘maybes’ and your ‘always’ turns into ‘sometimes’. All the things you used to know for sure become uncertain.

The dreams and ambitions of youth begin to lose their meaning. Other things become more important, like love and family.  You no longer need a thousand people to tell you they love you before you believe it. The love of one good person is enough.  You realise that being kind may not be trendy, but is the best way to survive in a cruel world.

I have been wondering about what it is that I know for certain.  I no longer have the reckless confidence of youth.  I don’t believe that I have exclusive rights to correct opinions in the world.  Half the time, I am completely confused about my own beliefs and values.

But this is what I do know to the core of my being:

Being good to the animals that share our world is one of our most important responsibilities.

I’m not religious, but I think caring for an animal is a spiritual experience.  I’ve been given the gift and privilege of the companionship of animals. I don’t think there is anything more healing or more pure.

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Book Review: The Lost Dogs – Jim Gorant


I mentioned breed-ism yesterday.   The book that really made me think about it was The Lost Dogs.  This was a gut-wrenching read. I cried through most of it, and images from that book still haunt me. In a movie you can avert your gaze, but with the book I had to keep reading.

The Lost Dogs follows the case of Michael Vick’s dog-fighting ring, Bad Newz Kennels, and the passionate fight to bring him to justice. The many beautiful dogs in the book are described with such clarity and warmth that you feel you know them.  The journalists have thoroughly researched this book and I think they provided a balanced account.  I love that it’s not too ‘schmaltzy’; the horrors described within are emotive enough that there is no need for purple prose.  The impact is immediate.

This is the book that made me research ‘pit bulls’, puppy mills and ‘backyard breeders’.  ‘Pit bull’ actually refers to a collection of dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and mixes of the two. I was surprised to learn that ‘pit bulls’ actually rated higher in temperament testing than golden retrievers (American Temperament Test Society 2010).  The ‘vicious’ pitbulls we read about in the media are often the result of mistreatment rather than their innate temperament.  Every time one of these stories comes up, it is sensationalised in the media; many people react to this type of fear-mongering by wanting stricter laws. But the evidence is that breed-specific legislation does not work. There are umpteen factors that can contribute to an aggressive dog – for instance, lack of early socialisation and training.  It seems more prudent to start with educating people on good socialisation of their dogs and providing excellent dog training facilities.

Puppy mills and backyard breeders deserve an article of their own, but are just another example of rampant consumerism in modern-day society.  Greed is what fuels these ‘organisations’; but I believe that most people are inherently kind and an educated public will wake up to the horrors of these practices.

There is a lot of information on the internet, but some websites I have personally found useful in learning about the above have been: (covers backyard breeders, puppy mills and breed-specific legislation)

Have a read and make up your own mind about these issues.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Is there something else that has inspired you  to learn about the plight of animals?

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