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Monday, February 17, 2014

This post is offensive.

And if it offends you, good because you're probably who I'm talking to.

Here is a basic truth I hold: if you purchase, adopt or take in an animal, you are responsible for that animal.

You have taken on an agreement with that animal, and your responsibilities include:

-Providing food and clean water

- Providing shelter adequate to keep them safe from extreme heat or cold

- Spaying or neutering them unless you are prepared for a litter of baby animals and take responsibility of finding them all homes or caring for them yourself.

- At least the most basic veterinary care.

- In the case of a dog, a way to identify your pup if s/he gets lost (we got Luna micro-chipped for $10)

These responsibilities continue until either the animal passes away, or you do.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think it's that simple. I have a friend whose family member was diagnosed with a terminal illness and they had no choice but to move to an apartment close to the hospital and could not take their large (very large) dog with them.

Situations like that happen, and sometimes circumstances beyond your control cause you to be unable to care for your pet.

But then there are the images on my social media that just break my heart. Like the family whose small dog has been with them about five years but since they got a new job and are moving, they decided that instead of looking for a pet-friendly apartment, they'll try to pawn her off to someone on Facebook.

Or the girl who has a history of getting dogs too big for her to handle at this stage in her life, then gives them away or takes them to the shelter, yet two days ago she posted a picture of her newest large dog.

And then there was the dog I found outside my apartment a couple weeks ago in the snow. He was a very large, sweet, friendly, and hungry dog with a collar. The collar even had a phone number on it! So I called, left a voicemail. We took the dog to our upstairs bathroom for a couple hours, gave him food and water, drove all of our pets completely insane, and tried calling a couple more times. Finally Nathan took him up to the humane society, where they checked to see if he was microchipped. He wasn't.

Now I don't know what happened to that poor pup: in my hopes he was adopted since his owner was apparently too careless to claim him or ever return either Nathan or I's calls.

Seeing all these situations kills me, because although I am not the best pet-owner, I at least adhere to the most basic responsibilities. And if you can't follow those simple guidelines, then you should not have a pet.

Animals do not deserve to be euthanized, freeze to death, or starve to death because human beings cannot keep up with their part of the bargain. I'm tired of seeing it, I'm tired of hearing about it, and I'm tired of keeping quiet.

Animals love with their whole hearts, they deserve a little basic respect in return.