I know some of you are at the tender age of having to consider your career options. As a dog there are many things you need to think about. Not least of which is the inequality of working conditions extended to us. I have long argued that ‘pet’ should be a job in its own right, but that is the least of your worries. You need to consider the fact that there are no regulations on just how many hours you can be asked to work. The Working Time Directive is just a thing of dreams for us dogs. It isn’t even that we get asked to sign a waiver, it simply doesn’t apply. In some roles, such as assistance dog, you can be on call 24 hours a day with no rest period and no annual leave. It’s barbaric. How can an assistance dog be expected to be at his or her best in conditions like that?
The Pet Dogs’ Democratic Party adopted as one of its early slogans ‘Minimum wage for working dogs’. We have made no progress on this important objective. Whatever role you undertake you will be expected to work in slave conditions. If there is any payment, such as acting roles, it will be made to your owner and not to you. You should be demanding the right to have it paid directly into your own bank account. We’ll come back to the problems of pensions and health benefits another day.
Nor do we benefit from any form of equality legislation, or for that matter the reverse. There is nothing to stop a ferret applying to be an assistance animal and there is nothing to stop an employer from advertising a job as being solely for humans.
I guess what I’m trying to tell you, young puppies, is that it’s a cruel world out there and your career choices may not be as broad as you had hoped and certainly not as lucrative.