Go Daddy has been pushed into pulling its super bowl commercial, which was outraging "animal lovers." Remembering stomach churning images from a few years back of the Go Daddy CEO with an elephant he had shot, I clicked on the YouTube arrow expecting the worse.
The ad opens with a shot of an adorable golden retriever puppy. That's a bad start in my book as I promote rescue. I am especially sensitive because when I first moved into my liberal neighborhood I noticed rescue dogs by the dozen, which, over the last few years, have been increasingly replaced by Golden Retrievers. One new family moved in with a Golden and soon family after family felt the need to keep up with the Joneses by buying a big blond dog. Golden Retriever puppies on television don't help the situation. But I doubted that was causing of the outrage.
The puppy and his brothers and sisters are riding in the back of a truck; the truck hits a bump and the puppy takes a tumble. Thankfully he lands in soft grass. The truck continues on its way and we see poor puppy go through hell and high water, well at least stormy rain water, and across roads and bridges to make it back home. As he runs into the front yard a woman exclaims, "Look it's Buddy! I am so glad you made it home!" Then as he runs into her arms she continues, "Because I just sold you on this website I built with Go Daddy." Then we see Buddy in a delivery truck as the woman shouts, "Ship him out!"
I love it!
Finally an ad that shows the truth about breeding. Animal advocates are protesting this? They should have produced it.
If anything, the portrayal of the breeder is too gentle. When you buy a puppy on the Internet, he may not come from a home anything like that. He is likely to come from a puppy mill, where his mother, along with dozens of other breeding bitches on the property, lives in a cage for her entire life, often exposed to the elements, churning out litter after litter, year after year. It's a horror that people who buy puppies would rather not see.
Perhaps you are careful to buy your puppy from a "responsible breeder." How is that breeder any different from the one portrayed in the commercial? Though she may like the puppies and do her best by them, ultimately she is breeding them for sale. If one gets lost, the breeder loses potential income, not a family member. Are people upset with Go Daddy for pointing that out?
The ad may raise another uncomfortable truth: The puppy you have brought home would rather have stayed with his mother and brothers and sisters for at least a year. He is freaked out as he is oohed and aahed over by your family. His first night in your home is a long and lonely nightmare for him. And when he grows older and less cute, and spends all day alone in the backyard while your family is at work or school, he may longingly remember his first family, his canine family, whom he loved.
Before you write me off as one of those animal rights activists who, like it's been said of PETA, doesn't even want people to have pets, let me quash at least some of that idea. True, I don't want you to have turtles and iguanas kept in tanks, because I have no doubt they would be happier in a pond or desert. And I don't want you to have single fish in barren bowls for their entire lives, and I love the city of Rome for banning that obvious cruelty. And I sure don't want you to have birds -- I think William Blake put it best when he wrote, "Robin red breast in a cage puts all heaven in a rage." Can you imagine having the God given ability to soar across the heavens, quashed because somebody wanted to keep you hanging around for decoration?
Dogs, however, who have been bred by humans for centuries, fall into a different category. We love them and they seem to love us, and I have seen situations in which humans give their dogs good lives. Sadly, I am not sure that's the majority: so many dogs spend so much time alone, with their humans plying them with Prozac if they bark, and complaining about their "separation anxiety." Please. Dogs, originally wolves, are pack animals; if your dog does not like to be alone that means he is normal. But in my neighborhood, I see humans and dogs, all of whom have clearly been looking forward to their sunset walk, gather on the bluff every evening as the humans chat and the dogs romp. I see happy animals. And I imagine a day when purchasing a dog will have the same taboo that we now have on purchasing a person. Dogs will be adopted, and, just like with children, potential homes will be screened and will have to show that they offer not just fenced in yards, but plenty of company and stimulation and love.
I know that it will be some time before my vision becomes reality. For now, dogs are objects of commerce, just as the Daddy O commercial portrays. It seems that people hate being shown the truth they support.