I’m a little late with this blog post, but I have a good reason (well, at least I think so). We adopted a six-month old puppy. Earlier this year, we had to say goodbye to both our beloved Billy and Cassie. Billy would have been fourteen on July 11th and Cassie fifteen on June 5th. Not only was this loss devastating to the humans in our family, it was very hard on our dog Jakey. He missed his siblings and was lost without them.
So now we have Poppy, and she is just what Jakey and the rest of us needed. But with all the wonder and fun and joy she brings into our lives, she also brings a whole lot of work, chaos, and stress.
Pets are wonderful. They’re our bedside buddies when we’re sick, our running buddies, our relax and watch tv buddies, our exuberant greeters when we come home, our truest friends in dark times, our enthusiastic cheerleaders in happy times, and so much more.
But how many of us are truly worthy of such devotion? Based on the number of pets abandoned every single day, I think very few.
Poppy was rescued from a high kill shelter and there are still many Poppys out there waiting. Waiting for someone to love, but sadly, many are waiting to die.
I believe we usually have the best intentions when we bring a pet home, but what many of us don’t realize is that these cute adorable beings are work. They will chew the legs of our antique coffee table. They will pee and poop on our very expensive carpet. They will wake us up in the middle of the night with their cries. They will leap up and bite holes in our new sweater. They will bark at our visitors. They will shed all over our pristine sofa. They will take away our freedom to stay out for hours and hours, because not only do they need to be let out to go pee and poop, but they need us—our company. AND they’re not cheap. Food, toys, vet bills- not just regular vaccines, but the unexpected costs of tests and surgery.
Every day, someone makes a decision to bring home a pet, but that same day, so many more decide to abandon theirs. And there are a slew of ‘reasons’.
“She peed on my carpet.”
“We’re too busy with the new baby.”
“I’m not paying that much for a sick dog.”
“We’re moving and the condo won’t take pets.”
“He growled at the kid next door.”
“She was cute when she was little, but now she’s so big.”
Yes, these are all true. Pets pee on rugs, a new baby makes life crazy, veterinary care costs money, people move, dogs growl, and pets get bigger.
But these are things we need to think about BEFORE we bring an animal into our life.
If carpets, floors, furniture . . . basically stuff, means a lot to you—then don’t get a pet.
If you’re thinking you may eventually have a baby and can’t think of your pet as your first baby—then don’t get a pet.
If you’re unwilling or unable to afford proper veterinary care—then don’t get a pet.
If you don’t think you’d be willing to ensure any place you live allows all of your family to live there too, including your pets—then don’t get a pet.
If you’re unwilling or don’t have the time to train your pet and work on behavioural issues—then don’t get a pet.
If you can’t commit to love and take care of your pet for their entire lives (anywhere from ten-?? years)—then don’t get a pet.
Yes, pets bring so much joy into our lives. For me, home doesn’t feel like home unless there are animals in it. Of course I still get frustrated with them, just as I do with my human children and husband for that matter. But just as I would never abandon my children or my husband, I would never turn my back on my pets. They are family.
People often say pets offer unconditional love. I disagree. There should be conditions to that love. We must promise to take care of them for the rest of their lives and not quit when there’s a rough patch, because there will be rough patches.
So I ask . . . Are you pet worthy?