How Media Messages Influence Our Behavior
The barrage of messages that enter our minds through TV ads, billboard advertising, and other places make their way into our thought processes and eventually influence actions we take. Malcolm Gladwell, author of BLINK: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, believes that most of our decision making comes from an other than conscious level. He says that we make unconscious associations that influence our decisions which then influence our behavior. These associations are opinions we’ve developed based on the things we’ve seen or heard in the past. It’s the unconscious within us that helps form our opinions.
So what does this have to do with finding your lost dog?
The animal welfare industry, although meaning very well, has sent out the messages of homeless, abandoned, dumped, and feral. People who have heard messages that millions of homeless animals are abandoned and dumped every year can jump to the conclusion that the lost dog they find was purposely dumped and is homeless rather than giving thought to the possibility that it could be a lost pet.
Someone who believes that a dog was dumped is more likely to adopt it themselves instead of trying to find its owner. It’s true that some dogs are indeed abandoned. However, most are not! Think about it…in order for most of the loose dogs out there to be unwanted there would be, statistically, hoardes of people lining up every day just to dump all of these dogs!
In reality, many people contact animal shelters daily to report that their dog is missing. The number of loose dogs that end up in pounds, rescue organizations, or are adopted by their “finders” are much less compared with the number of people who abandon them.
So when you come upon a dog minus its owner, think lost and not stray or dumped!