While I’ve never bought into the notion of “making everybody happy” I do believe that everyone is deserving of an explanation. My kids never heard, “Because I said so!” (though I sure did feel like screaming it at them from time to time). No matter how long my client’s list of questions, I address each and every one. And as an author, I do my best to respond to all of my readers’ comments, be they good, bad, or ugly. It simply feels like the respectful thing to do.
Critical comments from my readers invariably prompt introspection. Case in point, I recently received a comment criticizing my facebook post of an American Kennel Club (AKC) Health Foundation podcast featuring an interview with Dr. Gary Stamp, Executive Director of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. Here is what my facebook friend had to say.
“Nancy, it would be critical and wise that you look into the AKC’s possible affiliations with puppy mills, before you promote anything which AKC may sponsor. I need to delete you from my facebook if you are at all promoting the AKC.”
These comments certainly got me thinking. In fact, I have been concerned and annoyed that the AKC has not been vocal enough about the puppy mill issue. Given my public stance against puppy mills am I being hypocritical in promoting something positive that the AKC has to offer? Here’s where my logic took me and how I responded to the facebook comments.
“Thanks for your feedback. Please know that I share your concern about the AKC. They are in a position to have a huge impact on eradicating puppy mills, yet they choose not to do so and that is truly discouraging for me. I am not 100% clear about their motivation, be it financial or something else. That being said, I do respect the AKC Health Foundation and their stated mission which is ‘to advance the health of all dogs and their owners by funding sound scientific research and supporting the dissemination of health information to prevent, treat, and cure canine disease.’ Note that their goal is to serve all dogs, not just purebred dogs. Their podcasts consistently provide timely, accurate, and educational information, the kind of information that truly helps people become more effective medical advocates for their pets. And if you’ve read much of what I’ve written, you know that I am passionate about medical advocacy! For purposes of full disclosure, you should know that I have participated as an interviewee in an AKC Health Foundation podcast and, no, I was not paid to do so.
While I disapprove of the AKC’s lack of action regarding eradication of puppy mills, the AKC Health Foundation serves a definitively positive purpose. This is a classic case of not wanting to throw the baby out with the bath water.
If you’ve consistently read my blog posts you know that I am rabidly opposed to puppy mills, and it sounds like you are as well. Hopefully this common ground will allow us to respectfully agree to disagree. Thank you for sharing your opinion with me. If you choose to ‘unfriend’ me (or whatever the heck such a facebook action is called) I understand. Thanks for hearing me out.”
Introspection is always a good thing. Feel free to keep those critical comments coming, though not too many all at once!
Best wishes for good health,
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.