While not everyone is cut out to withstand the thrill that comes from adventure sports, we see videos of paragliding dogs going viral on the internet. A fluffy Samoyed is seen soaring in the air below its owner, who is filming this adventure. The owner seems genuinely concerned about the animal and hence checks on it from time to time.
This trend seems to have been followed worldwide as people from different countries are trying to do the same just to get viral and get likes, comments, and shares to become famous, even if it is for a few minutes. In fact, an acquittance of mine who owns a Spoodle dog breed was also considering taking its dog to an extreme adventure sport just because the dogs seem to be enjoying such sports in these videos.
Recently, I got to watch another viral video of a Husky named ‘Nawab’ which is the first dog to paraglide in India. The video looked super cool, and the dog looked calm throughout the ride, but it crossed my mind that the dog did not sign up for this.
If you have done any sort of adventure sports before, you will already know that one needs to sign a written agreement before taking part in such an adrenaline pumping sports. Such agreements state that the person who is partaking in this sport is responsible for his/her death or injury if something bad happens in the process. The human signing this is consenting for the same, but is the dog really into taking part in such activities? All I know from my experience of owning a dog is that they are anxious animals who are not really comfortable when it comes to trying new things. Hence, taking part in such adventure sports only does not make any sense.
In fact, this trend has picked up so much that you will find tonnes of pet videos doing paragliding, cliff jumping, skydiving and other cool adventure stuff. The owner may really love its dog, but is it not heading towards animal abuse? Forcing the dog to do something that is not in their nature just because it will look cool on social media is the classic example of animal abuse.
This is no different that animals used in circus. As the owner is forcing the dog to actually partake in an activity that only mentally may traumatize them.
When such videos are posted on social media, netizens react in a mixed way. A few feel like this is super cool and they encourage pets partaking in such activities more. The other half of the audience condemn this decision as it can be mentally distressful for the animal and, of-course a risk to their lives.
Being a pet parent, I would definitely let my dog do these adventure sports if my dog could tell me that it enjoys these sports. But what I understand when I spend time with her is that she is content with her treat and her favorite ball. It makes no sense to push her to do something so extreme like this.
When we were kids and loved to see elephants do tricks in the circus, it seemed like the animal was talented, but the truth was that they were chained and thrashed to ensure they learn to perform.
The sad reality of social media is that what you see is not the whole truth. If you see a pet owner posting cute photos with its happy pet, then you may be convinced the pet has a good life, but what happens when the camera is turned off? Are the owners less than any ringmasters who lack empathy?
In fact, the new trend of YouTubers is that they buy a pet to just get higher views, as pet videos are super cute and people would definitely enjoy it. The animal gets all the love in the form of comments on social media, which is honestly useless for it. Pets do not really care if they are a YouTube star on not. They are more interested to spend time with their owners, eat, sleep, poop and play.
So, let’s get to the point here. Pets may be considered as a part of your family, but they are not humans. They are a different species who cannot speak or express disapproval of something. Training them to learn a few tricks is considered harmless, but pushing them to do extreme sports where they do not get a choice just to grab the audience’s attention is very selfish.
The irony is that, on one hand, there are organizations protesting animal abuse and we find owners trying out unnatural things on their pet just to get some attention.
No pet can stay calm when they are pushed to these adventure sports. It requires rigorous training and you have to have a strong mind to be able to keep your emotions under control. Understand there are no standard safety equipments for dogs yet as this is not normal hence their lives are in danger when they are forced to take part in such extreme sports.
My main concern here is that you cannot make such harsh decisions for your dog. You can sign the contract if you are willing to, but you cannot make that choice for your pet who cannot communicate its emotions. The reality is that a lot of people die partaking in such extreme sports and no dog would be inclined to do these extreme sports. If the animal stays calm throughout, it does not mean it is not terrified.
Such videos actually encourage amateurs to try something similar with their dogs. The guy in the video must have co-ordinated the whole session with a trustworthy vendor, but others may not think twice before repeating the same stunt but with a cheaper vendor and end up endangering the animal.
Remember, your dog does not care if it is Insta famous when it wakes up every day. Rather their only though probably is when are they going to be fed.
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