I know my siblings think this post is about my dog, but it isn't. :) But I've been so frustrated lately to see many cases of discarded pets. I can't believe that people think so little of an animal's life.
Last week, my neighbor was walking near the neighborhood park and found a young "Chi-weenie". In case you don't know, that is a dachshund/ chihuahua mix dog. My neighbor notified the city animal shelter in case the owner is looking for the dog. She also took the dog in to the vet to see if it is micro-chipped. It isn't. She walked all around the area where she found the dog to try to find someone who might recognize it. So far, no one has even put up a "lost dog" sign.
Another friend of mine was running along the walking path behind our neighborhood and a young purebred Alaskan husky puppy came running up to her. It ran along side her and followed her home. She also went back to the path to see if someone might be looking for their lost dog. She notified the animal shelter, and also had the vet check for a micro-chip. After several days, still no one has come forth to claim the dog.
A neighbor of mine down the street has a dog that is kind of neglected. He is left out in the back yard most of the time, come rain or shine. He tries to jump the fence, so is always tied up. I can't imagine spending my entire life tied to the end of a rope, and I don't think animals like it any better.
Here are some tips that I would like to give to people who are considering owning a dog.
1. KNOW YOUR BREED Carefully study the breed of dog of which you are interested. Different breeds do have different personality traits. Make sure that you have the breed that is right for your lifestyle. If you are inactive, then an active dog such as a lab or hunting dog may not be the right breed for you. I suggest you go for a small breed that has shorter legs, and needs less exercise. What would be a walk around the block for you, will be much more for a small animal.
2. KNOW THE COST Consider how much you will spend on the dog per year. If you can't afford vet bills to have your animal spayed or neutered, or if you can't afford the immunizations, then you shouldn't have a dog. If you can't afford the food each month, then you might consider something like a goldfish.
3. DOES IT FIT YOUR LIFE? Consider how much a dog would be part of your life. If you are going to just put it in the back yard and forget about it, then you probably shouldn't be a dog owner. Buy an alarm system instead. Alarm systems don't need to be walked, and they don't poop.
4. PREPARE AHEAD Consider what you will do if you need to leave town. Don't think of your pet as disposable. If you can't find someone to care for your pet while you are away, then don't get one in the first place.
5. PREPARE TO TRAIN Learn how to train your dog. Don't dispose of the dog just because it has behavioral problems. Trust me, all dogs start out with some kind of behavioral problem. It is up to you, the owner, to train the dog how to behave appropriately.
6. PREPARE TO EXERCISE Dogs that get exercise have much less behavioral problems than frustrated inactive ones. If you can't devote time to walking your dog, you shouldn't have one.
7. GET YOUR PET FIXED There are already enough animals without owners, we don't need more puppies without homes. Unless you are a responsible breeder, you should have your pet fixed. To me, being responsible means not over breeding a female, and making sure that you can find homes for the pups.
I know that an animal's life isn't as valuable as a human's, but we have a responsibility to take care of them. With a little fore-thought and planning, we can make sure that our animal shelters aren't over crowded, and that no animals are carelessly discarded.
My Sally jumping for joy. :)