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.
Hmm. Thoughts from Harp here. Could I afford more animals..absolutely! Do I have room for more..20 acres a barn and house that could be over 4,000 sq. Ft top and basement I believe would suffice. I like people who think of the impact of new animals on their current animals. Shows me they care and are responsible.
You’ve more than fulfilled your quota! You of all people did not need to read or take this blog to heart!!!
Carrie, Don’t know if you remember a conversation we had (is it already years ago now? ) when I worked for you. I, too, made the remark that I didn’t think it would be fair to leave a pet alone for all the hours we worked. Thanks to you, you made me see that the hours with us would be so much better than what they would experience otherwise. We thought about that for a short while and came up with what we thought was a solution to the loneliness factor. We got 2, not only did we bite off 2 dogs at one time, but they were puppies no less! You remember Moose and Bear. Of course, I still couldn’t bring myself to crate them, so we dealt with LOTS of damage, all of which was our fault so we did the “grin and repair it” routine. Through it all, I realized that all these years I didn’t have pets, I really was a pet owner at heart. Sadly we lost those two, but bless your heart, you led us to Brownie and Wiggles…not names I would have chosen, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to change their names and confuse them. As I write this, they’re laying here between us snoring and passing gas like a freight train. lol The one thing that I have learned with these two is that crates are NOT bad things. I finally convinced myself to get one. I’ve learned that it is their safe place. I put a bed in theirs and leave the door open and they’ll go in and out of it to nap, or if they think they’ve done something wrong (whether we say something to them or not). Sorry about the book, but your blog really struck a chord with me. Thank you for EVERYTHING Carrie.
Love your novel and think you need to blog to replace your Candy Crush habit. I remember well your other boys and the Brownie and Wiggles are equally lucky. New babies are always challenging in one way or another but they make up for it in years and years of love…if we can get through the first ones that can challenge our patience. Animal lovers should always have an animal or two in their lives…even if the heartbreak of losing them is difficult to get over. The new ones are great distraction and eventually help to fill the huge holes the lost ones leave behind. Give the gas machines a pat for me and whisper in their ears an extra “love you” from all of us that loved them until you came for them!
Carrie, You nailed it again. Great blog.Thanks.
Wonderful article…I have several “adult” doggies and an amazing “adult” kitty that we have adopted. They don’t mind that I am not always home. They love the warm home they have, the food and laying at our feet or on our laps in the evening…If I could, I would take them all home. Don’t ever think it isn’t fair…giving them a home is a gift.