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Letters to the Editor: Rescuing a dog is rewarding, but comes with challenges – Los Angeles Times

To the editor: My heart goes out to the Karrers and Snoopy, their rescue dog who attacked a pit bull.
Loving a dog who has even sporadic aggression issues is like living with an alcoholic. You’re always looking for signs of trouble, and too often, those materialize.
The belief that no dog is genetically disposed to aggression is untrue. I know of several dogs from a non-aggressive breed, born years apart from the same parents, that have exerted very aggressive behavior, despite loving care from birth.
Often, people outside your household don’t understand. They see your calm dog for a few minutes or hours and remain convinced your dog isn’t capable of aggression.
Working with recommended trainers produced scant progress until I took my dog to a behaviorist. A “relaxation protocol” helped immensely. My dog and I now have a near normal relationship, but there are still signs of aggression. A “loaded gun with no safety” indeed. I know the feeling.
Ray McKown, Torrance
To the editor: I commend the writer for choosing to participate in canine antiaggression classes and for using all manner of reasonable precautions to do all he can to ensure that no future conflicts between his dog, Snoopy, and another dog will happen.
While it may be true that some rescue dogs found at our city shelters might come with issues, all of mine, while a tad shy at first, proved to be issue-free and companionable for the extent of their long lives. Each has its own individual character and particular personality — as do humans!
That some rescue dogs prove to be problematic is a truth which is born out in disturbing detail in some harrowing reports. It is understandable that insurance carriers do not choose to extend their services to various breeds given the history of some of these more troubling, even lethal incidents.
Dogs that are sourced from irresponsible breeders or puppy mills are possibly suspect, so one is always wise to investigate the history of an animal you bring into your home, as much as you can.
Let us hope that this can be a reminder to all readers of the seriousness and responsibility of being a good guardian to a rescued dog, and that all will continue to be well with the writer and Snoopy!
Elaine Livesey-Fassel, Los Angeles
July 8, 2024
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