I read with interest the article by Julie Waller and Barbara Sollerova entitled ‘Should We Get a Pet?

The authors extolled the many ‘mental health’ benefits of owning a pet and included dogs in their list.

It painted an idyllic picture of family life with a dog even saying and I quote: ‘the presence of a dog can reduce anxiety.’

Not in my experience, in fact quite the reverse.

My anxiety levels have risen to intolerable levels since new neighbours moved into my little village and believed getting a dog would complete their family only to leave it alone all day barking and crying. It is obviously distressed, which in turn is distressing.

With owning a dog comes responsibilities both to the animal and to neighbours. The animal is obviously suffering from extreme anxiety and my nerves are frayed.

The general thinking here seems to be that a dog barks. There is no empathy towards the animal or thoughtfulness towards neighbours. No owner asks why is my dog barking? What is wrong? What can I do to stop it from being upset?

Perhaps a good subject for the next article on the Practical Parenting page should be ‘Responsibilities of owning a Pet, dogs in particular.’

Yours Sincerely,

S Keys

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