In recent weeks, many people have contacted me about the subject of their pets. Their inquiries were not about what they can do to care for their pets during economic or other perceived hardships, but how to find an animal shelter, or if I "knew anyone" who would take their beloved pets for "reasons beyond their control" for which no one would disclose. The rationalizations and justifications for surrendering a pet are rather sickening. We live in a disposable society and the mindset of so many is that "when the going gets tough, the tough gets going". By that I mean that whatever people don't want to deal with, be responsible for, they simply discard, including living, breathing, sentient beings, our beloved fur babies.
=(^.^)=The topic of "surrendering" a pet, is highly charged, at least for me. Animals are not disposable objects. They are not a piece of trash or garbage. They are not a used paper cup. They are not the latest designer fad to be discarded and replaced tomorrow. The are not objects to abuse and use. They are living, breathing, feeling, and acutely sensitive beings with feelings of attachment to their owners. Cats and dogs feel distress when separated from those they love and who are familiar to them. They feel distress when separated from other animals they grew in proximity and are familiar with. They feel depressed and anxious, yet recover, from a physical move, when they are considered in that move, yet so many insensitive and selfish individuals leave their pets behind when they move; many dumped on the street, in the woods or in a box on a busy highway to fend for themselves. Out of sight, out of mind is their mindset.
Ignorance is bliss.
Yet for that pet, one who has often only known the comfort of a warm home, a dish full of food, a cozy bed, and human contact, this abandonment is absolutely devastating. Dogs and cats become depressed and emotionally despondent. They may be forced to succumb to environmental elements, cold, heat, and rain. They are subjected to traffic, cars, unkind people, and wild animals. Their once healthy immune system becomes compromised, predisposing the pet to illness and disease. Many become sick, develop ear and eye infections, starve and die, even in a shelter or in the hands of a "High-Kill Shelter" that euthanizes pets on a weekly basis "to make room for more". The types of shelters will be discussed in another part of this series.
=(^.^)=It is my understanding that the average cat may live for up to 18-22 years while the average dog's lifespan is approximately 12 years (some breeds live as few as 6 years while other breeds may live to 15-20 years). Some cats and dogs, like humans, are simply predisposed to live shorter lives.
When an individual adopts a cute little kitten or puppy, they often do so on a whim or impulse with little understanding about the long term "commitment" and"responsibility"required. Kittens are fun, little fur balls. However, kittens grow from kitten-hood into adulthood, just as an infant moves through toddler hood and through the school years. Little puppies grow into larger dogs. These developmental changes are natural, yet people who adopt kittens and puppies often lack the awareness that their responsibilities for that cute pet changes over time.
=(^.^)=Adopting a cat or dog means taking those responsibilities seriously for the life of that pet, in sickness and in health.
How many animals enter animal shelters each year? And how many are euthanized?
"The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, of whom approximately 3-4 million are euthanized. At this time, there is no central data reporting agency for animal shelters, so these numbers are estimates; however, the Asilomar Accords method is gaining momentum as a standard for more accurately tracking these numbers. Annual statistics for approximately 150 shelters across the country are posted at www.asilomaraccords.org. You can help them develop a more accurate picture of the problem by encouraging your local shelters to report their data." ~ The Humane Society of United States
Why are so many pets surrendered to shelters, or worse, dumped in the street?
1. Physical move, relocation, and people leave their pets behind (this has become epidemic)
2. Suddenly Allergic (could be after several years)
3. Doesn't want a pet anymore: can be for any reason imaginable
4. Too much work ie: inconvenience, responsibilities, annoyed with pet
5. Cost (to be discussed in greater detail below and in future blogs)
7. Marriage, new partner (I use the LIFO method: last in~first out, easy :-)
8. Parents don't want anymore, used as punishment against child or child goes to college
9. Current spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't want or like
10. Hoarding situations
11. Death of a human caregiver
12. Lost and Found
13. Animals used in fights or as "bait" and rescued
14. Jealousy of pet by a new partner
15. Pet is sick: a cold, skin rash~rather than treat, they simply dispose of to become more ill.
16. Woman becomes pregnant, birth of a child. (Perhaps your parents should have disposed of YOU when your little brother/sister arrived on the scene!
=(^.^)=Note: The average cost to feed a dog is approximately .67 cents/per day while the cost to feed a cat is only .44 cents/per day. While considering these costs, let's discuss the daily spending habits of many people, at least where I live. For comparison sake, the average woman spends between $20-50 every other week or twice a month on their nails (manicures/pedicures). It costs less than $14/per month to feed a cat yet many will give up the cat because "they can't afford it" rather than give up the unnecessary manicure.
=(^.^)=What about the millions of cups of coffee purchased on the way to work at the local Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts on a weekly basis? Most people spend approximately $2.00 for their morning cup of Java yet happily surrender their pet because of their "economic situation". That daily cup of coffee ends up costing more than $10 per week and can feed a dog for 15 days.
=(^.^)=Shall we discuss the cost of a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of beer or alcoholic beverage? I'll bet the same people hovering over the bar during "Happy Hour" each week are also moaning about the cost of feeding their pet, while feeding their addiction instead. Seriously folks, I'm not even going to go there. Denial is a nice fuzzy warm blanket.
=(^.^)=Later in this series, the reasons people surrender or abandon pets, as indicated above, will be expanded upon to provide insight and guidance into prevention. I will also share cost effective methods for both feeding and caring for your pet.
=(^.^)=In the meantime, for those of you on Facebook, there are two Applications you may have interest in. Save a Cat (SAC) and Save a Dog (SAD) offer photos of pets around the United States and Canada who have been surrendered to various shelters. Each pet is photographed with the date of surrender, their age and name (if known), breed and location. With every click on a photo, points are offered and accumulated. The collection of points goes towards feeding shelter animals, veterinarian care, and finding foster or forever homes. With each click, that individual cat/dog receives attention. The more attention drawn towards each cat or dog, the more likely it will find a person to adopt it. Attention also PREVENTS killing. Please click to feed and save a life:
Save a Cat: https://apps.facebook.com/save-a-cat/
Save a Dog: https://apps.facebook.com/save-a-dog/
For fellow bloggers, there are widgets you can place on your blog to draw attention to pets in need.
This is the Save a Cat widget that has already been added to the side of my blog:
Lastly, I am grateful for all the new rescue friends, both men and women, who devote time on a daily basis to saving cats and dogs on Facebook. The work they all do is phenomenal, and it is because of them the devastated lives of these saddened pets are improved and even saved. Namaste' ❤
Please share your own rescue stories.If you are aware of an animal in need please share that so that help may be located for that pet .Remember to give to those less fortunate. If you see a stray animal needing food, water or care, please help those who are unable to help themselves. One day it may be you who requires care. If you want to learn more about Save a Cat or Save a Dog e-mail at Fuchsiastars@aol.com. This blog is linked through Networked Blogs and may also be received directly to your Facebook page.
Follow us on Facebook: Fuchsiastars@groups.facebook.com.
Thank you, and have a wonderful day! ♥*♥
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