Sometimes I don't think I would wish a "dog's life" on my worst enemy. Our pets have no agency over their own lives. They live where we choose, they always go where we take them, most of their time is confined to houses, fenced yards and leashes, when their instinctive nature is to run free and wild.

We selectively breed them to meet our own criteria, designs and personalities, much as we would in purchasing a car or furniture. We train them to remediate instinctive behavior that may not please us. In return, we provide our pets with lifetime free room and board.

Dogs are socially oriented animals and were originally raised in packs. They rely on physical and emotional interaction and thus have become dependent on humans for their survival. Puppies are many times snatched from their mothers within weeks of birth and thus never know the nurturing processes of their own species, which can be traumatic and life-altering to them.

I think I know why a dog's years are shorter than ours. Every waking bit of energy is spent in providing nothing but unconditional love and loyalty to their human family, who may or may not deserve it. Dog owners need to appreciate the tremendous sacrifice these innocent animals are going through, speak up in public for those who cannot speak for themselves, and make their quality of life the best we can possibly provide by never abusing or berating these most precious of God's creatures.

George H. Zinn

Salt Lake City