Where do you draw the line on responsibility? At what point do you decide it’s okay to abandon their needs for your own personal convenience? At what point do you simply stop caring about the welfare of something you once loved? And what in the hell makes you think it’s okay to do so?
I recently learned that someone I know has given up on their commitment to care for an animal they were once so excited to have in their life. That alone breaks my heart, but there’s more… Not only are they giving up on a living breathing creature who depended on them, but this person doesn’t have the integrity to admit they should have never made the commitment in the first place. Maybe they have “too much going on in their life.” Maybe they’re embarrassed. Maybe they feel bad. Well, they SHOULD feel bad! How do you think that loving little animal feels? 😢
I’d like to take this opportunity to educate people on what it really means to adopt and commit to caring for a pet. I ask everyone reading this to just take a moment to put yourself in the place of that animal. And I know that there are people out there who will say, “oh it’s just a dog” or “it’s just a cat.” I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. THEY ARE PART OF YOUR FAMILY.
I frequently see the faces of these little souls and I can tell you, I know what they are thinking. They are thinking the exact thing you would if you were lost, abandoned and just want somewhere to call home. They WANT to be part of a family. People who adopt an animal that has already lost their family once, only to be left alone again, are downright cruel!
Just for a moment, think about the following:
1. How would you like to be dumped simply because someone decided they didn’t have the energy anymore?
2. How would you like being given away because someone decided you were too much work or needed too much attention?
3. How would you like to be replaced with a younger, cuter model?
Animals are not an impulse buy or an accessory that you toss aside after a few years because you grow tired or bored of them. I simply cannot stress this enough. Adopting an animal is a commitment for the ENTIRE life of that animal. You are committing to be responsible for that animal just as you are responsible for a child. If you are not ready to take on that responsibility, please don’t bother adopting them and giving them a false sense of hope and security.
I’ve heard it all and I have to say, there are some pretty lame excuses out there, including, “I’m moving and can’t have them at the new place.” My response? You knew you had pets when you were looking for a place. Find one that accepts them. Or, “I’m moving to a different state.” My response? Take them with you. I moved two cats cross-country from California to North Carolina. Don’t tell me you can’t move them. You CAN. It’s not easy, but you do it. Or this one, “I’m or my boyfriend/girlfriend is allergic.” My response? Okay well admittedly aside from my initial thought, which is dump the boyfriend/girlfriend… take an allergy pill! Or hey here’s an idea, don’t adopt one in the first place if you are that deathly allergic. I’m allergic and I have THREE cats. There are ways around it. You don’t just dump a family member.
If any of this is making you feel bad, then maybe you need to take a long look in the mirror. Maybe you need to reevaluate your life and your priorities before making a commitment to love and provide for another life. There are very few unselfish, acceptable reasons in which you would need to find a new home for your beloved family member, a few of which may include:
1. You have lost your job and have absolutely no means of income to provide food or shelter for the animal. (Then again, I’ve seen many homeless who would give their last meal to their dog.)
2. You are quite literally mentally and/or physically unable to care for the animal and the animal’s life is in jeopardy.
3. Your, or your child’s life, is legitimately in danger.
Animals have feelings and emotions, just as humans do. If you think for one second that they don’t know they are being dumped, you’re wrong. I have seen firsthand the eyes of sadness, the tears of loneliness and the shivers of fear. For that reason, I feel people should know exactly what they are signing up for when they decide to become a pet owner.
It is a promise to love them.
It is a promise to provide them with proper nutrition and health.
It is a promise to shelter them and keep them safe.
It is a promise to play with them, to teach them, to learn from them and to make time for them, even when you’re tired.
It is a commitment to giving them a loving and safe environment.
If you are unable to do any one of these things, you are not ready. And there is no shame and not being ready. But PLEASE, be honest with yourself for both your sake and the sake of the animal. Do not make a commitment you don’t intend to keep.