The Best Kind of “Gold Digger”

Photo by Patrick Danforth |

Photo by Patrick Danforth |

Back in my day (oh no, not one of those stories), people referred to as Gold Diggers were either a) the people who flocked to California during the gold rush or b) the people (most often associated with women) who insinuated themselves with people of wealth and means in order to get things they wanted.

Fast forward to a conversation I’m having with a good friend and brilliant animal welfare advocate and she says that she’s a gold digger, explaining that she sees past the top layer of every animal to find the heart and soul, the true essence of the animal, what makes them as precious as gold.

I have to admit, I was taken aback by her words not only because they were an excellent description of who she is, but also because they are perfectly descriptive of so many people I know in the animal welfare, training, behavioral and scientific world. Sadly though, as we talked more about this concept, I also realized that there are dog owners, shelter and rescue people, trainers and others who only see the trash, only see the bad, the inappropriate, the worst of what a dog presents and thus look to dispose of it, throw it out or at least contain it so that it doesn’t stink up the house or offend their neighbors, friends and relatives. They don't look for the gold and try to make positive change, to them it’s easier to toss it, suppress it, control it or dominate it, all in the name of being the superior species.

So, which describes you best? Gold Digger or Trash Tosser? If you're a Gold Digger, be proud of it and spread the word. If you know people that are trash tossers, take the time and patience to educate them, show them the way, help them see the light. I’m proud to say that I’m a Gold Digger, and I hope that you're one too. Let's start a new gold rush!

 Build TRUST, TEACH Skills, CHANGE Behavior, ENJOY the Partnership

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Positively Expert: Sam Wike

In addition to Sam’s work as a successful trainer and behavior consultant endorsed by Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training and the Best Friends Animal Society Community Training Partner Program, he is also a behavior consultant to the Monmouth County (NJ) SPCA and local rescue groups.


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