An Examination of Communicative Negotiation of Non-Rescue Dog Stigma

In: Society & Animals
Lynsey K. Romo Department of Communication, North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC USA

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Rachel Lloyd Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX USA

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Zoe Grimaila School of Public Affairs, American University Washington, D.C. USA

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Recently the pressure to rescue dogs has increased, alongside the number of people opting to adopt dogs from shelters. Yet, many canines acquired in the U.S. are purchased from breeders, potentially resulting in pushback or difficult interactions. Using Communication Privacy Management and facework lenses, this study examined how individuals who bought dogs from breeders or pet shops negotiate communication and interpersonal challenges surrounding their non-rescue dogs. Through interviews of 41 guardians, the investigation found people with dogs they did not rescue carefully managed disclosure and faced threats amidst “non-rescue stigma.” Specifically, non-rescue guardians weighed the risks and rewards when determining whether and how to reveal the source of their dog. By providing excuses and justifications, guardians were able to remediate face threats and present a more desirable identity, particularly among guardians of rescue dogs.

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