I read my employer's online classified ads (just the pet section) everyday. And it never ceases to amaze me how people can get a pet on a whim and then turn right around when they find the whole thing "too time consuming" and give the pet away...These are the kind of people I like to refer to as heartless, thoughtless bastards. I believe there are some ground rules that all individuals/families should follow when deciding if they should get a pet or not:
- Do you have enough time to exercise the pet when needed?
- Do you have enough money to cover food, toys, replacement of wrecked things the pet will inevitably destroy, vet expenses, city licenses (where applicable), a fenced in yard and boarding fees if necessary?
- Are you willing to to spend the time/money to keep the pet up-to-date with any necessary shots and spay or neuter the animal when it is not intended to be bred?
- Are you willing to keep the pet until it dies?...that means FOREVER...
Pets are NOT disposable. Now I understand that sometimes life circumstances beyond our control blindside us and occasionally render it impossible for the person to keep a pet (like an elderly person who needs to move into a rest home). This is fine. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with are the people who say that they "just don't have enough time to give the pet the attention they deserve"...WTF? Did you not have an inkling that you might be too friggin' busy BEFORE you got the pet? Another one of my "favorite" excuses is the cliche and ridiculous "unwanted gift"...like someone gave them a dog/cat/whatever that they didn't ask for or want and now they are trying to get rid of it. Who in the hell (besides a spouse/parent..and even then only after much discussion and consideration) gives someone a pet as a gift? Does it not occur to them that if the person really thought they wanted and could handle a pet they would get one for themselves?
Oh! And I just read a really good excuse last week..."we want to travel so we need to find a new home for our 11 week old puppy"...What? Excuse me...did you say that you wanted to travel? And it didn't occur to you PRIOR to getting the puppy that this might be some kind of hindrance? Reputable breeders don't even let you take a puppy home until it is between 8-9 weeks of age...people who aren't actual breeders will let the puppies go to new homes between 6 and 7 weeks of age typically. So if the puppy in that ad was only 11 weeks old then those people had the puppy for a pathetic 5 weeks maximum before they decided they just couldn't deal with the responsibility...
Another thing to consider is whether a particular pet or breed of pet will fit well into your family. After seeing Snow Dogs for the 25th time, my family thought it would be fun to get a Siberian Husky. When we read about huskies we found out that they are very high energy dogs that require frequent and consistent exercise. There is no way that we could agree to providing the dog with that much exercise so we decided against that breed. For other people it might be an awesome fit...like those Iditarod people or something...
In the end, my family talked about getting a dog for 3 years before we actually got one. We got a "free" oops dog (unplanned doggie pregnancy) that is half Golden Retriever and half Bernese Mountain Dog. He is beautiful...has a good temperament around children and can very much handle the cold weather we get where I live. He is a member of our family and my daughters refer to him as their little brother. The minute he started humping everything in sight, we got him neutered. We have a fenced in yard and he is up-to-date on all his shots.
When people talk about "going green" and being "eco-friendly" and all that jazz, we need to remember that being environmentally responsible extends to our pets as well. If we do not practice responsible spay/neutering (when the animal is not intended for breeding or showing), then we are participating in overpopulating the earth with animals. This then adds to a downward spiral of disease, etc. Being "the cat lady" with 97 cats in your mobile home is not exercising your freedom of choice, it is unsanitary and kind of a "tip-off" to underlying psychiatric issues...(I can say this because my family is full of psychiatric issues).
Another thing...I absolutely understand the draw of a purebred animal, but for those of you who are a little more open to the idea...some of the best animals you'll ever find are mixed breeds. Overall, their health tends to be much better than that of pure breeds. Our shelters are busting at the seems with mixed breeds. However, if you feel very strongly about a particular breed and want a purebred animal, what about the different breed pet rescues around the country? They have Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Siberian Husky, you-name-the-breed and they probably have a pet rescue shelter set up for it. You don't have to shell out $1000 for a dog...you can adopt one for less than 1/4 of that or even better...get one "free" from a local family, farmer, neighbor, etc.
Well, I've babbled on long enough...so long in fact that my words have turned into the whole Charlie Brown "wa wawa wa waaaa" thing...I promise that I won't bitch at all in my next post! No really, I mean it! I can stop bitching any time I want to. Yes, I can. Hey, shut up--you're not the boss of me!
Better go now...I'm starting to enjoy bantering with myself WAY too much...and just an FYI...this ducky is a spayed ducky! (Too gross? Too much information? Too bad!) ;)
**For the benefit of my husband who will have thought this phrase at least 3 times during the reading of this post: There is no such thing as a free dog/pet.