Puppies aren’t forever. Quite a statement isn’t it. The mere thought of puppies causes most dog loving people to say aawwwwww in their heads. The same is true for the cat lovers, and the lovers of other furry animals. Baby animals are cute. Ridiculously cute. And to top it off, they do the most amusing things… until they aren’t so much a puppy, or kitten, or bunny anymore.
What has sparked this little tirade you might ask? Well, lets start with it’s the holidays. In traditional veterinary style, it’s the time when most old dogs are put to rest, and most young dogs are bought as gifts for unsuspecting children, significant others, and empty nester parents. Much of the time these lucky gift recipients are unknowing and sometimes unwanting of the responsibility and effort that it takes to provide proper care. In about two months, when all these gifts are no longer fun to clean up after, are growing too big, cost too much to keep, and are eating the furniture, pet adoption groups and shelters will see an influx in members of the caged pets club. Another four months and these babies are reproducing if they haven’t been altered.
Second cause of tirade. Today I had a 12 week old “Black lab” puppy come in. Adorable, wonderful little guy. Hyper, full of life, the owners bought him for $50 and he came with no shots, no deworming, no previous care. After I explained all the ups and downs of dog ownership, like the need for heartworm prevention, flea prevention, training, vaccination protocols and importance of testing for intestinal parasites I could see the light fading out of the “new puppy euphora” face. This afternoon, I was saddened to find this little guy listed on craigslist for $250. The owners cited that “they didn’t know how hard it would be.”
I don’t hold it against them. At least they are willing to acknowledge the fact that they probably can’t handle a nearly 100lb dogs needs. I just wish they had known that before they brought him home, before I met him, and that I didn’t know that he probably will go through three or four homes and then to the shelter if the right person doesn’t adopt him. Big dogs are most surrendered when their owners don’t train them. Big black dogs in a shelter don’t get adopted as easily as other dogs, and in some places are just put on the euthanasia list right away.
So this is my sad story of the day, a hard truth. Puppies, and kittens, and bunnies, and other baby animals, aren’t forever. They are a commitment to a lifetime of learning to live with each other and mature as they do. If you are purchasing a pet this holiday do your part to research proper care, recognize the breed characteristics, and be willing to make the commitment to take them on, no matter what. That’s my Christmas wish.
Tirade over. Jamie