Friday, July 21, 2006

Restoring The Importance of Amateurism

There was an article in the Arts section of the New York Times the other day, a review of an historical exhibit on drawing as a cultural activity showing books and ephemera. The article discussed the idea of the death of amateurism. People used to consider it a good education to learn how to draw. Music used to be played in the home. People (kids and adults) used to play pick-up games of baseball in the evening. Now we watch baseball on TV, download music by the famous, and look at drawing as something only "artists" do.

I think this same problem can be seen in the care and feeding of dogs.

People now believe that they need to feed "specially formulated diets", avoiding all "people food". They are afraid to learn the basics of what dogs as a species thrive on. Our society has become accustomed to sickness in dogs (and ourselves!), giving up the power to help our pets live healthy lives in the most basic of ways - through food. Even when given easy access to this knowledge they turn away. Participation is giving way to passive observation.

When talking to people about feeding fresh food to their dogs I often compare it to feeding ourselves - the same reason fresh food is good for us is why it's good for our dogs. It really is that simple, you just need to learn a few guidelines that are species specific.

I'm discouraged when people are offered access to this knowledge, but are more comfortable having a sick pet.

Amateurism is a term that's lost it's way. The term I use more myself is D.I.Y, which stands for Do It Yourself. Whatever you want to call it, we should be doing more of it!
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