To Whom Do I Blame for this Burden?

Every day I look through Craig’s List at the pets posted in the community section.  Every day, I see excuses for why people get rid of their animals. “I moved to a new place that won’t accept my breed.  I have to pay a fee I don’t want to pay for my pet.”  “I’m moving across country and I don’t want the hassle of traveling with a pet.”  “We’re expecting a baby and so we’re going to discard our pet.”  “I’m tired of having a pet.”  “I can’t afford it anymore.”  “I’m bored with this older pet so I’m going to get rid of it for a baby.”  “It’s getting older so I’m just going to get rid of it so I don’t have to watch it die.”  These are excuses for laziness and carelessness. 

“I moved to a new place that won’t accept my breed.  I have to pay a fee I don’t want to pay for my pet.”  “I’m moving across country and I don’t want the hassle of traveling with a pet.”

 

Do people not do research when they move somewhere?  Do they not look at the pet restrictions before they sign a lease?  Why would you move to a place where you couldn’t live with your animal? 

“We’re expecting a baby and so we’re going to discard our pet.” 

This, by far, is the most offensive excuse I will ever hear.  Pets are children of other animal parents, but when we take them in, we become their parents.  Would it be socially acceptable if I were to relocate my child if I got a new pet?  I’d be accused of child abuse.  Dogs and cats are a 12-20 year commitment, snakes are up to 45 years commitment, and birds are even longer than that.  You chose to be responsible for an animal.  Pets aren’t like school majors or jobs.  You don’t just move from one to another one.  They’re living breathing animals that are completely and totally dependent upon us as their caregivers. 

“I’m tired of having a pet.” 

Excuse.  A LAZY excuse.

“I can’t afford it anymore.” 

Then you need to figure out how you can afford to have your pet.  I lost my job a while back, my car put my family and I back quite a bit of money, and I had my gall bladder removed right after I’d gotten my new job.  I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to afford anything.  My family was there to help me so that we could keep our three ball pythons and our Elkie puppy.  Make it work.  You don’t get rid of your children because you lack the funds. 

“I’m bored with this older pet so I’m going to get rid of it for a baby.”

So, if you’re married and you’re starting to get older, should your spouse divorce you for someone younger?  Is that right?  Pets aren’t like electronics.  You don’t get rid of them when something bigger and better comes along in technology.  They’re family that you choose.  You normally don’t get rid of family. 

“It’s getting older so I’m just going to get rid of it so I don’t have to watch it die.”

Again, does your spouse divorce you because you’re going to die soon and they don’t want to watch you die?  Who wants to be alone when they’re dying?  Who wants to be alone normally, for that matter?  How selfish are you that YOU don’t WANT to because of how YOU feel? 

I am an animal lover and I have been since I can remember.  I grew up with a chocolate lab that passed away when I was thirteen.  She was amazing.  I have had horses, cats, other dogs, lizards, bunny rabbits and I have snakes.  I can sympathize with people who have tried to work with their pets.  I even talked my parents into getting another dog after not having one for over eight years.  The dog they adopted has cancer that is no longer operable, but they’re not abandoning him.  They’re taking care of him and trying to make his last days as comfortable and happy as possible.  Maybe you have an extenuating situation that perhaps I’m not able to empathize with, and maybe I should be a more lenient. 

I look at the numbers from PETA and HSUS of the millions of dogs and cats euthanized each year and I can’t help but stop being so empathetic to the most offensive excuses I’ve listed here.  Every time I hear something along those lines, I look at my Norwegian Elkhound Magnus, and I know that, no matter what, I’ll push through to keep him. 

When you decide to make the investment, and that’s what parenting a pet is, you need to think about all of the aspects of having one.  Vet bills, medication, food, toys, treats, exercise, grooming, spending quality time together.  There are so many factors that are involved in having a pet.  Do you want to neuter/spay, pay for obedience classes, show them, put them through agility or therapy training, set up play dates with local dog owners?  Do you want a rack system if you get more than one snake?  Do you want to have a breeding colony of rats for your snakes or do you want a cricket colony for your bearded dragons?  Should you get the ferret condo for your ferret?  The floor to ceiling cage for your African Greys?  You don’t responsibly just decide to have a kid and then stop planning, do you?  Why would you do that for a pet? 

THINK before you act.  Your actions not only affect your life, they also affect the life/lives of your pet(s). 

 

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