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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

The Age of the Disposable Pet ?
By Kim Aranha
May 6, 2010 - 5:45:02 PM

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A dog in the shelter waiting for somebody to give him a home.

Oh, she/he is a great dog, BUT … (Pick any of the below…)


 “We’re moving. “

“I’ve changed life style.”

“I am going to be traveling.”

“We’ve just had a baby.”

“We just don’t have the time.”

“ Our new flat is too small”


Lately there has been a rash of dogs whose owners are just discarding them like a used Kleenex. One phone call to the Humane Society, BAARK, Proud Paws, Ark, AFAR, Kim, Laura, Melissa, Fina whoever and they can wash their hands of the responsibility and we can take over and find a home for their ex pet…


One phone call is all it takes to shatter a pet’s life, cast him into turmoil and break his heart…


And no friends…I am NOT being dramatic…


I have seen these poor animals, dogs on leashes standing, tail down, ears back as their “loving “ owners surrender them at the front desk at the BHS… I have seen kitty in a carry case looking around from her spot meowing in concern. I have seen their faces when the “loving” owner bends down for one last pat, says, “be a good boy” and bingo !!! Walks out that door with not a backward glance….now, lets see what else is on the to do list?


1.      Surrender Fido

2.      Buy t-shirts for nieces and nephews

3.      Bucket of KFC for the kids after school.


It is just that easy isn’t it? …


I have seen those dogs being lead back to the adoption kennels, with no idea on earth where the person they trusted the most in the world has gone, why they are in this strange place and what is going to happen to them. Yes, we try to reassure them, but they don’t know us from a nail in the wall, so they do not trust us…They trusted the person who just left them behind. I see their little faces day after day looking out through the chain link looking for that person who they would have gladly laid down their life for…who never comes because they have a NEW life and it just doesn’t include Fido…sorry, too bad, now where was I…


Now, often we are lucky and find a wonderful home for these abandoned (and don’t kid yourself that they are anything else but abandoned) dogs and cats… sometimes it is not so easy and the animals pine, they are sad they want their HUMANS…


And before one of my abandoning owners jumps in, No I do not think you should put them to sleep…You quite simply should never have adopted or bought the pet in the first place if you were not prepared to fulfill your commitment!

A little side comment here: “Putting to sleep” is a charming euphemism for KILL. As far as I am concerned it is only ever acceptable to “put to sleep” when an animal is in great pain, or already dying, or vicious and cannot be rehabilitated… any other time “putting to sleep” is plain and simple KILLING…but the euphemism makes the human feel better and less guilty, and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?


The bottom line to all of this is that when you adopt an animal it should be forever. They are very few circumstances in my mind that warrant just handing it over to animal loving people, washing your hands of the responsibility and moving on… when you adopt an animal you make it part of your family…a loving devoted member of your family, who, incidentally thinks the world of you. It is up to you NEVER to break that trust.


I appreciate that this is a very transitory community…people come and go…They “love” animals and want one, they want it NOW, they leave, they don’t want it any more. They do not stop and think of the sadness the put that animal through.


If you are coming to work in my beautiful country, and if you know that you will not be making the effort to take that animal with you, then do not adopt it…become a foster home… take in animals whilst they look for a caring forever home… Come down to the shelter, play with the dogs and cats…help train the adoption dogs so they can be homed more easily…join the BAARK Sunday dog walking club.


It is simply not fair to adopt an animal when the attitude you have is that they are disposable and interchangeable…You may buy and animal but that doesn’t mean you can treat it any way you wish.


I am sure I will come under heavy criticism for my strong and perhaps harsh comments in today’s article…but it is high time somebody came out and said what we have all been thinking for years.


It is high time for people to think very carefully before they adopt anything. Dogs can live 15 – 16 years, cats longer, bunnies 8 -9 years, birds just as long…and those baby turtles the size of a silver dollars grow to the size of a dinner plate and can live longer than you do (I know I had to build a 380 gal. pond for 12 silver dollar sized turtles.)


Animal ownership is for life…Animals are not interchangeable stuffed toys on a store shelf, they are breathing, thinking feeling creatures. Created by God, the companion animal wants to be just that. They trust you and they need to have that trust upheld.

“My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.”


Nobody knows who said that but it is a great matra to live by.


About the author: Kim Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two grown sons. Kim has 3 dogs, 3 goldfish fish, a tank of freshwater exotic fish, 11 turtles (2 babies, 6 adolescents. 3 adults), 1 Asian box turtle and 4 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the Bahamas Humane Society, and serves on the board of BREEF, and is co-chairman of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group. Kim can be contacted at berryislandgirl@gmail.com

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