Animals Are Not Disposable

IMG_0087Lately I have spent a lot of time thinking about my dogs, how much they annoy the crap out of me, how much I love them anyway, and how there are people out there that view pets as something disposable. It seriously irks me. I have three dogs and I think at this point they can all fall under special needs. At least my family is constantly reminding me how ‘special’ they are, with a smirk on their faces. I don’t disagree.

First off there is Dane, my 13 year old chihuahua who has slowed down significantly this past year. He is hesitant to jump on or off the furniture. Instead he will pace on the floor, crying to be lifted up. Or he will lay at the edge of my bed or the couch, crying to be lifted down. He wakes me up several times a night to go outside and when he gets out there, he tries to meander around sniffing but I make him come inside because I’m a jerk who wants sleep. He’ll get me up again in an hour (or three) with his sad, plaintive whine. He is so happy though when I lift him down, his tail wagging as he looks at me with love.

Frank. Oh Frank. That’s how conversations usually start and end about him. He is 5 lbs without a tooth in his mouth. His tongue hangs out the side of mouth constantly. He is full of piss (literally) and vigor. I adopted him when he was 7 years old. Frankie came from a hoarding situation and lived most of his life in a cage. When I adopted him Gram was alive and they bonded very quickly. In fact there were a few times that Gram got sick and the thing that pushed her to get better was to get home to her Frankie. It was the sweetest thing.

After having him for several years now, I’m frustrated to report that Frank STILL pees in my house if not watched constantly. It’s annoying and I’m so tired of cleaning up pee. In nice weather he will come and let me know he has to go out but even then there is a chance he will pee only a little and hold a reserve to come in and douse my couch. I’ve never had a dog that will go somewhat outside and then come in and finish in the house. Thankfully my aunt bought me a Bissell Little Green Machine for furniture and I have hard wood floors which makes clean up easier. A rescue that I adore recently posted about ‘bellybands,’ and so I ordered one for Mr. Frank. I’m hoping that will keep him from peeing in my house. I’ve tried everything, else, including a $200 Porch Potty to give him as an alternative to the great outdoors. Not one of the dogs will use it. Granted, if I didn’t get lazy at times, and kept a watchful eye on Frank 100% of the time, perhaps his potty issues could be broken. Sometimes though it is exhausting. I have two other dogs and after a busy day at work, I don’t want to chase his every move. It’s easier to yell to my sister, “Frank’s coming your way,’and hope that the time it took him to leave me and reach her didn’t allow for an accident.

Then there is the Milo Monster as I affectionately call him. He is my energetic Boston Terrier that was an owner surrender, partially due to his high energy. Milo is excited about EVERYTHING! Life, a person coming home, seeing one of the other pups if he hasn’t seen them for a few hours, people walking down the street, dogs being walked down the street, a paper towel roll to destroy, a toy to wrestle with. He is happy go lucky and go go go all the time. He is silly and loving and very sweet.

However, if I’m under the weather, the last thing I want to deal with is a dog bouncing off the walls, wanting to play. He’ll come up to me on the couch, and hit me with his front paws trying to coax me into a game of chase, or fetch or wresting, or whatever. He is so exuberant when I first get home that he will fly on the couch and put his paws on my chest and want to drown me with kisses. He pushes the other two dogs out of the way as he wants all of the attention for himself. “Milo, easy,” or “Milo gentle!” are phrases repeated a lot in my house.

Why did I write about all the ways that my dogs drive me insane? Because I know people who will give them up, turn them loose, or put them to sleep for much less and it breaks my heart. I cannot stand people who abuse animals, or turn their backs on them, or give them away for the silliest of reasons: like the dog doesn’t match the new furniture, or it grew larger than they thought it would, or they don’t like dog hair, etc.

My dogs drive me up a wall at times. I want to cry when I’m not getting a good night’s sleep, I do mutter to them that I want to strangle them when it’s up/down all night long BUT it is part of my commitment to them, when I CHOSE to bring them into my life and my home to take care of them, and be there for them, until it is their time to leave this world. So I do, and I will. I know that there are people who would have given Frankie away a long time ago or put him to sleep for his peeing in the house. Or people who would say Dane is old and put him to down so they could get a good night’s sleep and not be bothered. Milo has been given away several times, originally found left behind in an apartment by someone who didn’t want to deal with him.

I just don’t get it. Pets are living, breathing, loving creatures that deserve the best from people. Why do some people think they can chain them outside of a shelter and just leave? Or push them out of a car in some strange city and drive away? Or beat them?  As much as my dogs can annoy me, they bring me way more joy and happiness and love than I could ever measure. Seeing Milo play so gently with Frank and the two wrestling, or seeing their joy on a walk and being allowed to sniff all the scents on the fire hydrant. Snuggling up with them after a long day. Just watching them live and be. Honestly, the forgiving nature and unconditional love of a dog make me feel closer to God than sitting in a church does.

I know this time of year pets are a popular choice for Christmas gifts. I beg of you, please do not get a pet unless you are willing to be there for him or her 100% until their time on this earth comes to an end, which could be 20+ years depending on the animal. Animals are not disposable.

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