The question I get asked quite often is “How do I start a pack?” or “How do I join a pack?”
First it is important to understand what a pack is. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a pack as: a set of persons with a common interest, a clique, an organized unit (as of Cub Scouts). A group of domesticated animals trained to hunt or run together, a group of often predatory animals of the same kind, a wolf pack. A large group of individuals massed together (as in a race).
It seems like a simple definition when you look at it from the outside, and are not a part of the pup community. However, from the inside we see a pack as something harder to define. It is that feeling of community that seems to draw puppies to being a part of a pack, and handlers can have the same desire. Knowing that what a pack provides to pups and handlers is a sense of pride and ownership, and being a part of something positive and good in the community, gives us a sense that we are loved and cared for.
From a Handlers prospective the connection with a puppy is similar to the relationship that humans have with bio-dogs. It is rewarding to take care of a kind, loving, caring pup. They depend on you for direction in exchange for the unconditional love of a puppy.
Packs can start for various reasons like friendships, common interests, love, camaraderie, the feeling of being a part of something, and the list goes on. You don’t always have to have a reason to start a pack and it can just be because you want to. Some happen over time and some happen suddenly. Some packs take work; others develop naturally. A pack in the pup community has very diverse and fluid dynamics and can be defined in many ways. Altogether there are some similarities, but it’s important to realize that no two packs are the same.
It generally starts by asking a pup or handler to be a part of that aspect of your life. Your pack could have a purpose or simply be your chosen family. Some packs have mottos and rules. Rules can cover a variety of topics from communication to dating and sex. There are even unspoken inner workings like you would see in any family. Think how public you want to be with your pack. Now you have more than one person to consider when it comes to decision making. Maybe your pack mates will be only local or living at a distance. The possibilities with packs are endless.
There is a lot of consideration that should come into play when starting a pack of your own. Take into consideration everything going on in your life. As a Handler I reflected on a few things like my personal and social life before going forward with my pack. I asked myself if I could be the leader and mentor that my pack needs. If you are not stable, then how can your pack be? Though it may seem like that is all a lot of work, and it is, the rewards outweigh the work, because you can rely on pups to be there for you with love and admiration.
An article on pack dynamics should be coming up in the next weeks, and if you want to learn more about packs around the world click here. Share, comment, and rate below.