Editorial by Peggy Eims
In the not so distant past, people worked for the things that they bought. They saved, purchased what they needed and then held onto that item for a considerable length of time.
Today, our society has evolved into an instant gratification, everything is disposable, group of individuals. To what cost? So many people seem to feel that they deserve to have something if they want it.
And if they get something, many do not see the value in that “something”…. if it breaks, throw it away. If it goes out of fashion, throw it away. If it becomes a hassle or boring… throw it away.
Sadly, it seems as if pets have fallen victim to this disposable way of thinking. Individuals want a pet (dog or cat), so rather than thinking of the full implications of owning that pet (time, money, owning for the duration of that pet’s life), they just get that pet that they think that they deserve.
For some people, dogs have become fashion symbols… there are many that consider the purse or “pocket” dogs to be chic and hip; unfortunately when the fad passes, too many dogs are dumped.
There are also those individuals who have decided that a pair of unaltered pets equates to quick cash – hit Craigslist every few months with “puppies for sale” and someone pockets easy cash…. quick, easy money with no thought to the true cost.
No consideration for the thousands of dogs dying in shelters – “I deserve this money, it’s easy, I’m going to do it” seems to prevail instead of compassion and common sense.
Many individuals have dogs that get hurt or sick – it’s easier and cheaper to dump them at the shelter than to pay a veterinarian to “fix” them.
Disposable society – broken? Throw it away…..
This instant gratification, disposable society is taking a toll. Everyday I see the urgent postings. I see the pleas to save lives. Everyday I see a rescue begging for foster homes because there are dogs that NEED to come into the safety of a foster home.
Every day I see a posting on Facebook – a face of a senior dog, or of an infant puppy with a rescue volunteer’s sad comment, “How could they? How could their owner dump them here?”
Every week I get an email from a volunteer – the email has a long list of dogs and it is “urgent” that they be pulled because they are on the dreaded “E-list”. The volunteer goes on to state that the “shelter is slammed with 50+ incoming dogs a day”.
Think about that number… FIFTY DOGS A DAY?! At ONE shelter.
Years ago, there were shelters that picked up strays and took in the occasional dog from an ill or deceased owner. Today they are taking in the cast-offs from breeders that have dogs past the age of producing. They take in the puppies that didn’t sell on Craigslist. They take in the hundreds of dogs that people don’t want to take the time to work with.
Dogs are surrendered for the simplest (silliest) of reasons. “Got too big”, “Sheds too much”, “I don’t have enough time”, “Moving”… the list goes on and on. Can you imagine what would happen if parents could dump their children when they were too difficult??
Think about that statement. Consider if those same excuses were applied to children. Takes too much time… too expensive to raise, unruly, too loud, harder to raise than I thought it would be (my kids have satisfied all of these… where’s Kidfinder.com?)
Can you imagine if there were state agencies to take in the cast-offs in the same way that animals are allowed to be turned over? If people were allowed to be un-committed to this extreme to their human children?
Society would be in chaos.
Somehow, someway, society needs to realize that owning a dog is a privilege, not a right. Just because you want a dog, does not mean that you are fit to own a dog. Just because Fifi looks cute in your hot pink purse does not mean that you MUST have Fifi.
Not sure if you are ready and capable of owning a dog? Foster for a rescue first. You’ll help a dog in need AND you will see what dog ownership entails. You’ll see firsthand what it’s like to have dog hair in the house. What it takes to keep a dog happy and healthy. It may be short-term, but fostering offers valuable insight.
And society needs to realize that if they made that commitment to own a dog, an actual commitment must be made. If that dog gets hurt or sick, take care of that injury or sickness. If it’s a struggle to handle the needs of your dog as the years go by, deal with it. Figure it out.
Just as parenting can be a struggle, so can dog ownership. You make accommodations in your life to make the things of value work.
Everyone needs to work together to help educate our society’s youth. Teach the children that dogs are living creatures with feelings. Teach the children that dogs are to be valued and respected. Educate children about the importance of altering family pets.
The changes have to start somewhere….
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