Someone said something to me today that has again been ruminating in the my head all day and as often is the case, prompts me to blog.
When talking to a coworker who overheard me talking about my foster mommy Autumn and her puppies, I of course mentioned that the babies would soon be old enough to leave their mom and me (sad, sigh and a little gulp of sadness with that thought). My coworkers response was not even a surprise. “My husband and I have talked about getting another dog but we don’t think it would be fair to the dog since we both work and we’re gone so much.”
My mind was racing with so many responses you can’t imagine. One of which was that she must think poorly of me since I have a houseful of animals that I leave alone each and every day. This wasn’t a rational thought as I’m certain she had not given this idea even the briefest of thoughts but it occurred to me nevertheless.
In fact I do feel badly at times that my animals and in particular the five dogs and my fosters do spend each day essentially alone and confined to the house. But I know too much to dwell on any truly guilty sensations when it comes to the animals in my care. I know they are lucky. But not everyone has the perspective that I live with after my years involved in the animal welfare world that exposes me to real unfairness.
What’s not fair is that there are millions of animals sitting in shelters waiting for their lives to begin.
What’s unfair is that Aleea was adopted several years ago from our shelter into a home where her life was wonderful but when unforeseen personal problems arose, her owners felt they had no other choice but to return her to the shelter again.
What’s unfair is the puppy whose owner feels guilty about putting in a crate to avoid their getting into trouble when they are gone and is now so frustrated with the damage the puppy is doing in their home and thinks returning them to the shelter is the best option. For whom that is the best option I do not know but assuredly it’s not fair to expect so much of this adolescent pup.
What’s unfair is the cat surrendered only because her owners didn’t have her spayed and as if by no fault of their own, she’s now pregnant and no longer desirable. Too much to bother with now.
What’s unfair is that Brownie Girl was adopted and for a few days got to live lavishly in a home with a children who adored her but was returned when she chased the cats. And back to the shelter she came.
What’s unfair is that people will overlook the adult cat that sits quietly and patiently waiting for someone to stop and give them an ounce of attention but go overlooked because the kittens are cuter and appear to offer so much more.
What’s unfair is the puppies that are abandoned on the side of the road or dumped somewhere because they were unplanned and unwanted.
What’s unfair is Shine who is a wonderful dog but sits in our shelter for months because she is a black dog, no longer a puppy and in the eyes of so many, unadoptable because she is cursed with the Pit Bull stereotype. Unfair that so many will walk right by and not even give themselves a chance to learn what an incredible being she is.
Or the puppy that was purchased when they were an undeniable darling ball of fur but unfortunately grew up, became a nuisance when housebreaking wasn’t a priority and training was too much effort and now no one wanted to deal with the problems only they had created through their neglect.
What’s unfair is that doors are opened to the cats that people assume will fend safely for themselves and then find themselves in the yards of those that don’t appreciate them. Thus they are scooped up and delivered confused, scared and dazed into the shelter. I remind myself that at least we will keep them safe.
What’s unfair are all the dogs that are acquired and then found to be troublesome and no longer wanted and are relegated to a chain in the yard.
What’s unfair is the millions of animals that die in shelters every year because there are not enough people willing and wanting to help them. That’s unfair.
And their only hope is for those of us that do care to do something about it. Opening our homes and our lives to them. And even if it means we have to make sacrifices, deal with inconveniences, and feel a little bit of guilt when we leave them behind to do our jobs and live our lives. To me that’s the only fair thing to do.