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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know. I know. Repeat topic on spay/neuter/sterilization/what have you, but I promise this will be a bit different.

I had a discussion with my SO about this, and I thought it would be worth sharing. It made me think a little about objectives, priorities, and endgames. It really made me reflect on thoughts and experiences that I have had in the past. Some thoughts are nice, and some are, admittedly, not; all of these thoughts, though, are mine or were mine at one time.

Say there are two possible outcomes that can end up happening:
Outcomes 1:
1. No more shelter dogs.
2. All dogs acquired and kept for their entire life with proper care.
3. All dogs owned are intact. Breeders sell intact by default, both breeding and non-breeding dogs.
4. All owners want to and able to keep their dogs from mating through proper management. Sterilization reserved for medical necessity.

Outcomes 2:
1. No more shelter dogs.
2. All dogs acquired and kept for their entire life with proper care.
3. Breeding dogs intact; nonbreeding dogs sterilized through traditional or alternative methods voluntarily and/or on contract. Option to keep non-breeding dog intact available upon negotiation.
4. Some owners able to manage intact dog, but don't want to. Some owners obligated by contract and obviously follow it. Some owners negotiate with breeder to keep dog intact.


Starting the discussion, my SO said, "Obviously, I know a lot of dog people are drawn to and going to choose Outcome 1 as the endgame. But is Outcome 2 automatically inferior? For those people who think it is, what makes Outcome 2 automatically inferior? Or are they equally desirable endgames?"


I said it depends on your objective. The conversation went something like this (not directed at anyone on this forum):

Me: If your objective is to simply solve the shelter dog problem, both Outcome 1 and 2 are both good because they both take care of the root problem. The other details are different, yes, but each outcome allows for people to keep the dog as they wish, just in a different "bigger picture" environment.

SO: Are you sure about that? I can see some situations that certain outcomes cannot accommodate for.

Me: If you want to go there...one could argue that Outcome 1 does not accommodate people who can but don't want to own an intact dog, but I foresee a lot of dog people handwaving that concern away because it's an outcome that is generally seen as the most desirable to work towards. As for Outcome 2, one could argue the "if you can, you should" line with regards to keeping a dog intact, and this would also pertain to those who can but don't want to. You can't accommodate for everything, and you're never going to make everyone happy.

SO: Oh I know. Are there any other things?

Me: If your objective is to get people to own intact dogs more because you think dog owners "should have to truly take responsibility for their dog" (heard this phrase before but not from SO), then only Outcome 1 would be considered acceptable to you.

SO: That's what I figured. Anything else?

Me: If you just don't like routine sterilization procedures for whatever reason, then obviously only Outcome 1 would be considered acceptable to you.

SO: What about if you want to accomplish all three objectives? You and I both know that a lot of dog people are going to still choose Outcome 1.

Me: Of course they would choose Outcome 1. Yes I know. I do get why. No shelter dogs so no pressure to sterilize. People can keep intact dogs unabashedly. No annoying people complaining about not being comfortable owning an intact dog, as those people probably just wouldn't be able to own dogs anyway. I don't think these dog owners are completely against Outcome 2, but to say they would be happy about it is...a stretch. Outcome 1 is considered THE ENDGAME. No sterilization. No "extras". No bull****. Just management. Outcome 2 is considered the "fine, whatever" endgame; that's why it's generally considered inferior. It required you to accommodate for people more. I could tell from the tone of their voice; I could tell the frustration of dealing with dog owners who CAN, but don't WANT to. They felt bogged down, unable to reach their full potential. I don't think it's wrong to feel that way, but it certainly doesn't feel great spilling it out.

SO: Do you think that? You already know what I think.

Me: I do know what you think. You think both are equally desirable outcomes. You and I have kept both altered and intact dogs, so it's not like we're inexperienced with this. You and I don't necessarily view places that already achieve Outcome 1 as bastions of animal welfare, as those places have other things that make them deal breakers. Different places skin the animal welfare cat differently. If I had to pick one, either one would be ok, assuming by that time the people will be confident in owning intact dogs. Some people may willingly choose to forgo owning a dog, who knows. Transition takes time. I do think both are equally desirable outcomes for the US. And if Outcome 2 became reality in the US, I would still celebrate.

SO: Do you think it's possible for all three objectives to be accomplished with Outcome 2?

Me: On an individual level? Yes. For some people, that's enough. On a whole nation level? No.

SO: As for the people who can but don't want to?

Me: They're certainly not lazy. They are still responsible in my book. Telling them they can't own dogs because of that is asinine.

SO: Routine sterilization procedures?

Me: I think routine sterilization procedures can coexist alongside alternative procedures and education about intact dog management. So what if the US sterilizes more, and I'm just talking about sterilizing adult dogs here. Are there going to be people who think speuter should be phased out for alternatives? Yes. If it doesn't? Honestly, that's not really a problem for me either. There's nothing stopping alternatives from simply existing in a lesser capacity compared to speuter. Do I think alternatives will ever catch on the same way as speuter? I don't know. Different places, different strokes. Even in places where it looks like they got everything figured out, they definitely don't.



TL;DR: Furocious relates a conversation with her SO about two outcomes and their conversation on it.

Also, there's a possibility I'll be getting a foster in a couple of days. We'll see...
 
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