TV vs. Reality

Pitbull gazing out the window.

We here at Arctic Spirit Rescue are big fans of the television show Parks and Recreation. Two of the characters, April and Andy, have a three-legged Pit Bull named Champion. We love the fact that a special needs dog is showcased in such a popular setting! Champion’s owners are hilarious, but, although they love him unconditionally, they don’t always make the best decisions as dog owners. We find this happening on TV shows and in the movies; situations involving animals are not portrayed very realistically for the sake of the story. Let’s take a look at some of the things we, as a rescue, do and don’t do with a little help from our friends in Pawnee.

  1. Adoption

In one episode of Parks and Recreation, there is a large dog adoption event in one of the local parks. This is a great thing to do for the dogs, but the adoption process is much more complex than as seen on the show. In real life, you do not just get to pick a dog, pay a fee, and leave. You must first fill out an adoption application. Once that is approved, one of our members will come and inspect your home to make sure it is a dog friendly environment. If you have other animals, we will need to set up a “meet and greet” with the potential adoptee and your animals to make sure they will get along. If everything checks out, then you get to take the dog. Sure, it is a lot more complicated than just saying “I’ll take this one!” and walking out, but this way we ensure every dog is going to a good home where he/she will be safe and happy.

  1. Dogs Off Leashes

In another Parks & Recreation episode, Andy decides to let Champion off his leash to roam free. This really is not a good idea. Dogs should only be let off their leash in a fenced-in area or else they may run off!  They want to go explore, smell everything, and go crazy. Let them off the leash and they probably will not come back, especially if you have a northern breed! Even the best trained dog will run if they see a rabbit, squirrel, or other tempting critter to chase. Champion’s return later in the episode is Hollywood fakery and most situations like this do not end well. We require that our foster homes and adopters have a fenced-in yard and that dogs stay on a leash at all times when they are not in an enclosed space so this does not happen. Andy is incredibly lucky Champion came back safe and sound.  

  1. Vet Care

Earlier in the same episode as above, Champion was being baby sat by Chris. When Andy came to pick him up, Chris told Andy that he took Champion to the vet, the pet store, and to an obedience class. This implies that Champion had no prior vet care when he was with Andy and April. That is not responsible pet ownership! You should always take your dog to the vet at least once a year for the same reason your doctor requires yearly check-ups: to make sure everything’s okay! Here at Arctic Spirit, our new foster dogs will be taken to the vet for a check-up and will receive a rabies and other required vaccinations. Rabies vaccinations are required by law in all states! Always be sure to take your pet to the vet on a regular basis to keep them healthy.

  1. Training

On Parks & Recreation, Champion went to an obedience class conducted entirely in German. While it won’t be in German, Arctic Spirit will train our foster dogs. They won’t be able to win medals or anything, but they will know the basic commands: sit, stay, lie down, come, and most importantly, “NO!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING! GET DOWN FROM THERE!”

Adopters are encouraged to continue using the same commands, and even enroll in classes themselves. Training is a great way to bond with your new family member. 

On Parks & Recreation, April and Andy might not be the best dog owners, but they do love their three-legged dog so much. Here at Arctic Spirit, we love our dogs too and will do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy, and safe while they wait for their forever home!