As the saying goes, time flies when you are having fun, I must be having a lot of fun because I can’t believe fall is here. Since fall is here, it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had intentions of posting this blog this summer after an event that left me sad and frustrated, but time slips from us all. So, on the brink of the Holiday season I wanted to share some helpful tips to think about before you become a pet parent.
Reverting to the dog days of summer on a Saturday in June, I thought I was beginning my normal routine before heading to work that morning. However, I was greeted at the back door by a frisky, friendly, black, lab-mix puppy about 40 pounds who was eagerly pawing at the back door. Hoping that it had accidently gotten loose from one of the neighbors both of us headed to work that morning. Once at work, I was surprised to find the dog had a microchip number. After contacting the microchip company I was told that it was registered to a local SPCA. I called the SPCA to find that the dog had been adopted in January and gave me the contact information of the adopter only to find that the number was no longer a working number. Thankfully, to my detective work and social media, I found the owner on Facebook. Now on the Facebook profile of the owner, I was saddened to find that 24 hours before hand she had posted a picture of the dog and a caption that said something along the lines of, “Free to Good Home. I just don’t have time for her and she needs a yard to run around”. With some reluctance, I called the owner and she explained to me that she had given the dog to someone else the day before but she wanted the dog back. We made plans to meet at a common area and I returned the dog to her.
That evening, I reflected on the day’s events and couldn’t help feel frustrated, sad, and angry. As a society, we have domesticated animals for our enjoyment and use. The dog now relies on its 2 legged counterpart for love, nutrition, and maintenance of their health. Why have we been so careless about this responsibility? Having an animal regardless if it is 4 pounds or 4,000 pounds, requires that before we decide to incorporate a furry friend into our life that we make a conscious decision based on our lifestyle to have a pet. It is selfish to get an animal because it is convenient at that time, to get rid of an animal because it no longer fits with your lifestyle, or you no longer think the puppy stage is cute 10 days after Christmas. You must have the time and financial means for a dog. Having a dog is a lifelong responsibility. A dog is not a fad or a present; they are faithful companions who know what unconditional love is. Why did this young lady get a dog in January and decide 5 months later that she didn’t want the dog? She quite clearly didn’t think ahead of all the responsibility and care that they need. Every day at work I hear clients complain about the cost of flea prevention or state they have no money to spay and neuter their pet. So, how did you have money to buy a purebred yorkie? Did someone twist your arm into getting a great dane to live with you in your apartment? I think we all know the answer to those questions. The saying, think before you speak, well it applies to ownership of an animal, think before you get a pet.
The only real comfort that I can give to myself is knowing that my mutt is my best friend and he relies on me for a lot. I made a commitment to him 3 years ago that I have a lifelong obligation to his health and well-being. That no matter where I go or what I do he will always be there with me until the end of his time.