It’s the same thing every year.
A few weeks before Christmas, we see a short news item on TV where a staff member of an animal shelter informs us that they are ‘already FULL’ and implores people NOT to buy their offspring live pets for Christmas, unless they are, you know, really really sure that’s what the whole family wants.
For sure, a puppy, a kitten and all the other live critters will still – even in times where every other toy seems to have at least 4 AA batteries (not included), some sort of screen and/or a cable – be the shining star under the Christmas tree. Just sooo cute. So cuddly. So…alive.
Because that’s just the thing with live pets. They are alive. The battery will not run out. But just like a toy, it can break, oh sure it can, or get sick in some way, only then, you can’t just discard it in a cupboard or on a top shelf for later consideration. And even if it doesn’t, especially juvenile dogs and cats will destroy things. Sometimes LOTS of things. And that little hamster.. who would have thought the cage would develop such a big stink in such a short time.. ? A pet can be so much more work and cost than initially planned for. And even if you have a very loving and responsible child… In the end, it’s the parents’ decision, the parents’ care and the parents’ money that matters. And much too often the parents will decide : the pet must go.
Why is it that so many parents seem to forget this again and again, year after year ?
I don’t know the exact numbers in Australia but in every European country the number of Christmas dogs and cats that end up in shelters in the first 6 month each year or are – even worse! – abandoned at the side of the road when the family drives off for a holiday are several ten thousands. In each country. Every year.
Who the hell buys all these pets ? I’m sure it’s not you. But it might be someone around you. A colleague, a sibling, someone with really good intentions, but maybe not all that experienced with pets?
Tell them to read up about the breed of their choice. To check if their expensive canapé is cat-proof. Tell them to wait and to make it a consensual, informed family decision rather than a spontaneous act of ‘puppy love’.
Sometimes people don’t realize they have allergies. It’s a very valuable reason to give up a pet – that’s why the shelter staff might wince a little when you give that excuse. Because, yes, you could have checked that before.
One thing to consider is taking in a foster pet. Most animal shelters will be delighted to find people that will allow a formerly abandoned pet to get more family experience, even if it’s only ‘on trial’. In any case, everybody should rather go several times to their local shelter than have one spontaneous buy in a pet shop. Even choosing a pure bred from a well known breeder will be no warranty for a quality dog that suits YOUR family and life style.
I’ve had cats and always had dogs in my life. Animals are great companions for people of any age. But they are no toys. They are little lives for sale.
There are many “causes” and issues that deserve our attention. By no means my little category claims to be the ONE most important or relevant problem to date. It’s just a way to post about something more serious and of general interest at least once per month. If the particular cause touches you, copy and link away, make your own topic, use the logo i create for it or not. But it would be nice to let me know. 🙂