Somebody asked me today if I wanted another dog. The person didn’t know that I already share my home with five dogs, and that although I’d love to have twenty more dogs, I don’t have the space, the resources, or the energy to care for more than the pack I have now. That didn’t stop me from asking questions. What kind of dog? A husky/shepherd. How old? Fifteen…but a very young-acting fifteen. Why do you want to get rid of it? Oh, I work so many hours and my son (also fifteen) is never home..although he really doesn’t want to get rid of the dog. But…it’s really not fair to the dog.
Really? It’s not fair to the dog? I hate that excuse. I hate it because it makes people sound like they care when they really don’t. Do you want to know what’s not fair? Having a dog for fifteen years and then wanting to give it away because it’s no longer convenient to have it.
Here’s a dog that has known one home and one family for her whole life. Now she is a senior who has already lived beyond the ‘normal’ expected lifespan, and her people, the people she has obeyed and protected and loved for her entire life are ready to throw her away like a broken toy. The truth is that she probably won’t live too much longer, and abandoning her in what may very well be the last year or two of her life is cold and cruel.
Stop fooling yourself. Stop pretending. The truth is that you don’t give a shit what’s fair for the dog.
The truth is, when you decided to have a child, you didn’t say to yourself “I’ll take care of this kid, but when it gets inconvenient I’ll put him up for adoption.” The kid has been plenty inconvenient. Without even knowing you or your son, I am confident of that. How many times did you change his diaper when you were out in public? How many nights did you lose sleep because he was crying? How many times did he get sick when you had other plans? How many times did you have to drive him somewhere when you were tired after a long day at work? How many times did you have to scrape money together to pay for an unexpected expense? How much has your food bill increased as he has grown into a teenager? How much damage has he caused that you’ve had to pay for? None of that stuff is convenient, but you still did it. You did it because your kid is your responsibility.
Well guess what? A pet is a living thing. Being that it is alive, it has an expected lifespan. When you take on the responsibility of a pet, that’s exactly what it is; a responsibility. A pet is not a toy. It is not a hobby. It is a living, breathing creature and it did not ask you to buy it or adopt it—that was your choice. Your pet is not a disposable commodity.
But, you can’t say all that stuff to people. Not really. Because by the time you say “The truth is that you don’t give a shit what’s fair for the dog”, they’ve stopped listening.
So all you can do is make suggestions. A dog walker once a day? Doggie daycare once a week? How about Camp Bow Wow? Even one day a week will improve your dog’s life…and you know what? It will tire her out. For days. Even better, they are running specials all the time, and they are located conveniently alongside the freeway.
I know we live in a disposable society…but ask yourself this: it’s made our lives more convenient, but has it really improved our lives? The landfills are full because everything we buy is disposable, or we view it as though it is.
Shelters are full for the same reason.
It’s not fair, and that’s the truth.
Here is the story about Belinda that I wrote for Pet Pardons News that never made it live. I am hoping it will answer the questions some of you are posting in the comments about Belinda, and that you will use the petition link at the end of the article.
A twenty-nine year old Florence woman was arrested and charged with “ill treatment of animals” Monday in Darlington County South Carolina. Veronica Crawford tied her dog, Belinda, in a bag and left her lying in the backyard for four days. Only Belinda’s head was left exposed while she lay, cruelly restrained, in the summer heat.
According to Captain Andy Locklair of the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, Crawford called Darlington County animal control on Monday, June 11. Crawford told animal control that she no longer wanted her dog and asked them to pick it up. Animal control informed her that because she was surrendering her own dog, she would have to bring the animal in to the shelter herself and fill out the appropriate forms. Crawford told them she had no transportation, so they made an appointment to come by her house on Thursday. Allegedly, Crawford then “bagged” her unwanted dog and put her outside like a bag of trash.
Locklair said that on Thursday, Crawford called animal control a second time, asking when someone would be there to pick up the dog. She told the secretary who answered the phone that her dog had been tied up in a bag on her property since Monday.
Animal control contacted the sheriff’s office, and deputies were sent to Crawford’s residence at 1103 Foxhall Drive in Florence, where they found the hound mix lying in the hot sun, restrained in a red bag with only her head protruding. She was severely dehydrated and had an embedded collar. Belinda was taken to the Darlington County Humane Society shelter to receive medical treatment.
Greg Vaught of the Darlington County animal control office said the dog “was in pretty bad shape.” But he added that despite her ordeal, she was in good spirits.
“She is a very friendly dog,” said Vaught. “She was just as calm and as nice as she could be.”
When the judge on the case learned that Belinda’s puppies were still at Crawford’s home, he ordered them removed. The puppies are being cared for at the shelter and will soon be put up for adoption.
Belinda is now recovering in a foster home. The woman fostering her has noted that although “Lindy” suffered such cruelty, she is still gentle and craves attention.
Crawford was arrested on Monday and booked at the Darlington County Detention Center. She was released after posting a $2,500 surety bond.
A petition has been created to demand prosecution of Crawford. A donation is requested after you sign, but signatures are recorded whether a donation is made or not. Darlington Rescue has also started a fund in Belinda’s name, to raise funds to help the dogs in their care. Donations can be made on their website.
Please sign and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.