Missing Pets While Abroad- Missing my cat, missing my dog, and discovering missing barking

An easy thing that comes to mind when people ask me if I miss home is my pets.  Missing them is just as applicable when I’m here in Denver studying, as it was when I was in Seoul studying abroad. I miss playing in the deep Minnesota snow with my dogs, making snowmonsters that Monte attacks and destroys—tearing down what took 10-15 minutes to make in less than 10 seconds.  I miss our cats that climb up into my lap to be petted.  And I miss discovering baby kittens on our farm.

I learned that in South Korea, most Koreans prefer dogs to cats and see cats as a dirtier animal.  Do people prefer cats or dogs in the country you visited?

One of the highlights of my time in Korea was spending a few weekends at my friend’s home, with her super cute small white terrier.

This is Nana. She looks cuter with hair.
This is Nana. She looks cuter with hair.

That is when I learned that it is common for owners in Korea to de-bark their dogs.  I was shocked. I didn’t know the procedure even existed. Well, it does. And people in the United States practice it too; it’s just not widely advertised by veterinarians who practice debarking.

If you want to learn more, check out the 2010 New York Times article by Sam Dolnick titled Heel. Sit. Whisper. Good Dog.

Colorado appears to be full of dog-lovers, and I expect most Coloradans who read this will instantly object. But after looking into the procedure of de-vocalization, it doesn’t bother me very much.  It is a procedure done for humans’ convenience; it seems comparable to de-clawing cats.  Additionally, dogs recover quickly, and it doesn’t turn them into unhappy pets.

The procedure has been has been done for decades and animals can generally still make wheezing or squeaking noises.  There isn’t data available to tell us how many dogs have been devocalized, but experts say that it is most common in private homes, dogs who compete in show circuits, and in drug dealers’ attack dogs.

On the other hand, I doubt I’d ever do that to my own pet in my lifetime.  Devocalization is banned in New Jersey except for medical reasons, in Ohio it can only be done on nonviolent dogs, and is banned in European countries as well (Dolnick, 2010).

What do you think? Would you ever de-bark your dog, like they do in other parts of the world? Have you ever de-clawed your cat? Have you met a de-barked dog? Was it happy?

-Emilie, Peer Advisor



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