Working in the industry of companion animal behavior and training, we all do things that are not financially lucrative and maybe take up a lot of our free time. Whether it is writing training articles and blogs; helping to raise money for animal shelters; running a Facebook page to help educate people; taking the time to talk to somebody who has concerns about their dog or maybe just taking the time to let somebody who is scared of a certain breed – or perhaps even scared of dogs in general – get to know your dog a little bit better…
All of us do things that take up our precious time. I am of course referring to “doggie” related topics but I could equally be talking about the time you take to go and see your elderly neighbor who lives by herself; the phone call you make to help someone out with a problem or to simply cheer up their evening; the person you give your seat up for on the bus or maybe even the second you take just to smile at somebody. There are many things that we do that don’t “reward” us in any way. But do they?
I spend a lot of time running my Staffie boy Jambo’s Facebook page, sharing articles and photos, commenting on other people’s posts; making force-free training videos or videos showing Jambo and my GSD Tessa doing some of their tricks for our YouTube Channel; writing training articles and the occasional blog; educating people about Breed Specific Legislation; promoting a positive image of the “bully” breeds; supporting spay/neuter… I sometimes ask myself if it is time well spent or whether I am wasting precious time that I could be spending on something else. Sometimes the time I spend at my laptop is really time that I don’t have and so something else goes undone as a result. I’m sure many of you regularly do things that eat into your time and therefore ask yourselves “Is it worth it?”
Maybe what we should really ask ourselves is “are we making a positive difference?”
Over the years I’ve received messages from more than one person (or should I say, Jambo has) telling me that, since they started following his page, they’ve stopped using a prong-collar or a shock collar. I’ve received messages saying that someone is now training their dog in a totally different way as a result of watching our videos and reading our posts.
There have also been the people who knew nothing about Breed Specific Legislation and had to ask me what is was, as well as those people who actively feared the so-called bully breeds. Those same people now regularly comment on Jambo’s posts and share them with their friends. They realize that there is nothing to fear: the “bullies” are just like other dogs. They are all individuals and their behavior is a result not just of genetics but of the way that they are brought up and the manner in which they are taught. One lady very kindly messaged Jambo thanking him for posting his photos as she looked forward to seeing them and they brightened her day.
So the answer is, yes it is definitely worth it, even though the rewards may not always be immediately obvious.