September 22, 2019

Pet Abandonment

The vast majority of animals in shelters and pounds across the country are there because they were abandoned by their owners and left to die on the streets or they were surrendered to the shelter.  Millions of pets each year are abandoned and put to death at shelters and pounds because there is no-one to care for them.  People abandon animals for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is a lack of understanding about what it takes to care for an animal: 

  • Long term commitment: Depending on the type of animal, you must make a 12-18 year commitment to care for that pet.
  • Money: At a minimum, you will need to provide food, shelter, toys and veterinary care for your pets.  In addition, you may incur training, grooming and boarding costs.
  • Time: Your pets need your attention, just as children do.  It’s no secret that pets who get plenty of attention and exercise tend to be happier, healthier and calmer than those who don’t.
  • Planning:  When you add a pet to your family, you are taking on responsibility for that pet’s welfare for the rest of its life.  You will need to include the pet in your vacation plans, evacuation plan in the event of an emergency and any event that could displace your pet from its home.
  • Training:  As with children, if you train your pets from the beginning both they and you will be much happier.  You must socialize your pet and provide structure and security just as you would for your children.
  • Love and affection:  Do not get a pet if you won’t be able to spend the time necessary to give the pet the love and affection he or she craves and deserves.  Animals have a full range of emotions and needs and can become depressed when they are deprived of their family’s love and affection.

Tips to ensure that you won’t abandon your pet:

  • Before you get a pet, do a realistic assessment of your family, home, resources and time.
  • Animals are not throw-away toys and are not to be used for entertainment for your children.
  • Do not buy an animal as a gift unless the recipient has specifically told you he or she wants a pet.
  • Do not get pets for children – your children will quickly get bored and then the pet will become your responsibility.  Animals are not toys for children to play with – they are sentient beings with needs and feelings very similar to those of young children.

Remember that your pet is a member of your family and wants nothing more than to be cared for by you and to return to you unconditional love and affection.  Animals experience fear, love, playfulness, boredom, anxiety, depression and joy, among other things.  Please be a deserving pet parent.

A Man and His Dog

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”

“This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered.

“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.

“Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.”

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” the traveler asked.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.  After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.  There was no fence.  As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

“Excuse me!” he called to the man. “Do you have any water?”

“Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.”

“How about my friend here?” the traveler gestured to the dog. “There should be a bowl by the pump.”

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.  The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.  When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

“What do you call this place?” the traveler asked.

“This is Heaven,” he answered.

“Well, that’s confusing,” the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.”

“Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That’s hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?”

“No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.”

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