The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha The Age of the Disposable Pet ?
By Kim Aranha
May 6, 2010 - 5:45:02 PM
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
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?
t-shirts for nieces and nephews
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org