I’ve said many times that I’m not sure who rescued whom when we came home with Remy, then nine months later with Pax. Our lives were great before them, but they’re wonderful now. Somehow, pets fill a void that some folks don’t even know existed. I thought we were doing OK after Rousseau passed away. His death hit us both so hard, there were a few days afterwards that we both thought we could never love another dog. Boy, am I glad we were wrong. We had to “rescue” some more.
It breaks my heart to see dogs and cats languishing in shelters. Irresponsible breeding is at Duggar family levels.
In the Aussie community, there are shameful, unscrupulous people who like the way mostly-white Australian Shepherds look (and sell), so they deliberately breed merles to merles — something so dangerous and cruel, I can’t believe it’s not a punishable crime. These often blind and deaf puppies (if they survive at all) routinely end up in shelters, or fostered by good people willing to take on a severely impaired dog and give him the best life possible — while otherwise healthy but abandoned animals wait for death at the pound. So sad.
So let me do this PSA today, although I know I’m preaching to the choir. Skip the breeders and adopt. There are even plenty of purebred dogs available (not sure about cats, but I’d wager it’s the same with them). Then there are angels like the cat breeders in the Netherlands who gave two of their beautiful purebred ragdolls to RtB fiend Suzanne, after she lost her longtime companion, Chevy. Kind people are everywhere; not just at the shelters and foster homes. The ones who are in it for the animals as opposed to the profits are the ones to seek out.
What’s truly sad are owners who simply didn’t know what they were getting into, or decided that while their puppy was cute and the breed was popular, the workload wasn’t what they expected or wanted when the dog got older. So…off to the shelter they go. Unbelievable how disposable animals are to some people. And these are the pets who wait; wait to die.
I know there are extenuating circumstances in life (indeed, one of those exceptions brought us Rousseau), but speaking generally, there exists no situation in which I would ever give up my dogs. Not for anything. If a potential new apartment didn’t allow pets, I’d keep looking. If my dogs had a behavior problem, I’d do whatever was necessary to mitigate it. If we moved far away and I couldn’t take them in my vehicle, I’d arrange to get them there via professional pet transport. You don’t leave town and deposit a family member at the dog pound, or worse — the side of the road, which, sadly, happens all too often.
I think sometimes that people leave it too late to do anything but give up. For example, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “We had to give him up because he kept having accidents in the house,” or “she wouldn’t stop chewing on stuff,” as if the accidents and the chewing were the dog’s fault. Again, there are exceptions (aggression towards babies, traumatic incident that results in vicious behavior, etc.), but in general, people are the reason dogs fail at being good citizens, and society has made it all too easy for folks to just deposit pets at the shelter like so much recycling.
At this writing, we’ve had Remy for 18 months, and the training is ongoing for a dog with such enormous fear issues, I seriously considered looking into behavioral therapy with a lady in Akron. But he’s slowly improving. I’d say he’s had one major breakthrough behaviorally in the last year and a half. We’re taking that as a huge victory. Since Aussies generally live 13-16 years, we have some time.
So, what got me on this tangent this morning? It was actually a beautiful thing. I read a poem yesterday noon, while eating my lunch. After bawling through my watermelon, I saved the text and decided to write about the subject today.
Of course, you can substitute “cat” for “dog” in this. Read and weep…then go hug a pet.
I would’ve died that day if not for you.
I would’ve given up on life if not for your kind eyes.
I would’ve used my teeth in fear if not for your gentle hands.
I would have left this life believing that all humans don’t care
Believing there is no such thing as fur that isn’t matted
skin that isn’t flea bitten
good food and enough of it
beds to sleep on
someone to love me
to show me I deserve love just because I exist.
Your kind eyes, your loving smile, your gentle hands
Your big heart saved me…
You saved me from the terror of the pound,
Soothing away the memories of my old life.
You have taught me what it means to be loved.
I have seen you do the same for other dogs like me.
I have heard you ask yourself in times of despair
Why you do it
When there is no more money, no more room, no more homes
You open your heart a little bigger, stretch the money a little tighter
Make just a little more room, to save one more like me.
I tell you with the gratitude and love that shines in my eyes
In the best way I know how
Reminding you of why you go on trying.
I am the reason
The dogs before me are the reason
As are the ones who come after.
Our lives would’ve been wasted, our love never given;
We would die if not for you.