Posted by: petsweekly | March 26, 2010

“If you don’t take my dog/cat/horse, I’ll..”

I haven’t posted for awhile because, quite frankly, I’ve been busy.

Beyond busy, in fact. With the newly formatted, it’s taken a lot of time to get stories transferred over, and new ones written, and newsletters out on time, and sales handled so I can get you guys lots of great deals on the best of all things pet. I’ve got a novel I’m editing, and another novel to write, and a contest to run, and well – you get the idea.

I’ve also been getting (and reading) a lot of email. On a typical day it’s not unusual for me to receive in excess of 400 emails.

Sure – a lot of it’s junk that can be deleted, but most of it is animal rescue-related material.

Lately, the most common email I’ve been receiving (and I know that every rescue in the world is dealing with this as well because I’m on all their mailing lists) reads something like this:

A mother and two puppies await death

A mother and two puppies await death

“I have a dog (or cat, or rabbit, or bird, or child) I must give up. I have been trying to find him (or her or it) a home for some time but have run out of time. Can you take him? Otherwise I will have to take him to the pound (or the vet to have him destroyed, or to my friend’s where he’ll most certainly die a horrible death).”

Sorry folks, but this type of “plea” just absolutely pisses me off.

Guess what, Judas – I don’t care about you anymore…

That’s right. You have finally broken me. You’ve harassed me to a point that these emails have very little effect on me.  I have become jaded.

You brought this animal into your home when they were cute and adorable. You watched them grow up. You gave them a feeling of security, a family – you gave them purpose.

Sure, you care about them. But the second your life gets a little tough, you just give them up. You cast them aside like yesterday’s newspaper and think, “We’ll get another one when things calm down.”

You leave them to potentially horrid fates at the hands of animal abusers (after you’ve trained them to trust others), or to the desert (after you domesticated them so they will serve only as a meal for a better trained carnivore), or you abandon them to the street (where they will most certainly be injured and left to suffer unimaginable pain until a good Samaritan picks them up – if they do).

“I would never do that,” you exclaim. “I wouldn’t just abandon my pets.”

Maybe not… Maybe instead you call or email me and whine about “how much you love them” and “how you only want what is best for them.”

Then you essentially threaten me with their “death” if I don’t take them into my own home.

Wow. If that’s love, keep it to yourself.

A dog awaits death

A dog awaits death

Before you give your pets up, just do a couple of things first: Go down to animal control. Walk the halls and listen to the throngs of barking dogs. Watch cats who were once outgoing and playful cringe in the back corner of their metal prison.

See, really see, how much of a throwaway society we have become. If you still feel the same way, then by all means – go to the lobby, do the paperwork and turn over the animal.Leave your pet, the one that YOU promised to care for throughout its already short life, and walk away.

But you should ask to be a part of the e-list mailing, just to watch your best friend’s description (because that’s all they get in the shelter) show up on the “Pre-E-list”. That evening, check the list again. If your friend is back on it, he got a 24-hour reprieve. If it didn’t, well then – I guess you get the drift.

And I hope karma bites you in the ass.

Sure – I know that there are extenuating circumstances, that there are “exceptions to the rule.” I know that you have your reasons. The thing is – I DON’T CARE what those “reasons” are. I’ve already heard all of them.  They range from, “we’re in an apartment that doesn’t accept pets” to “he is the wrong color.” (And yeah – I’ve heard that.)

I can’t take your abandoned animal. I have no more room in my house and I can’t take your pet. It doesn’t matter how many lives I want to save. It would be a physical hazard to bring in more animals. And I know a lot of rescues in the same boat. There’s simply no place to put all the “unwanted, discarded animals that our nation throws away each day.

Here’s the thing – if you decide you absolutely cannot live with your pet, that you are completely incapable of providing even the simplest of things (an occasional meal, water, a safe place to sleep, a pat on the head), then you’ve got problems I can’t fix. Maybe you should be exploring other options because right now – you’re just wasting space on this earth.

Wallow in that statement. Choke on it for all I care. Because if you can’t feel every emotion, every hurt, every pain that your best friend feels as he watches  you walk away, you don’t deserve – well, anything.  So – if you’re one of those people who “can’t keep their pet,” fine.  Just don’t call or email or talk to me about it.

Seriously – I’m done with people who abandon their pets for stupid reasons.

And yes, I know this is an unpopular stance. I understand that you if you are one of these people who have or will abandon your pet, you will be pissed when you read this. And again – I don’t care.

Mom and four kittens await their fate

Mom and her four kittens await their fate

If you’re one of those millions of people who have tossed an animal aside because it was “difficult” or “inconvenient” or it “sprayed”.  If you feel that you “are not home enough and can’t give the animal the life it deserves” – fine. Suck it up, deal with it.  I don’t care. I’ve had it. I have officially reached my limit…

Yeah – times are tough and no one knows that better than me.  We’re all broke. We all have long days and complex schedules and sure – occasionally, our pets suffer for it.  Life’s hard. But you took on a commitment, a responsibility for another life.

If you can’t deal with that, you’re the one who has to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror every day… As long as you understand that I’m not taking on your guilt anymore. I refuse.


  1. I am one of those “Child-free” weirdos. I see the ads on Craigslist day in and day out and people are so quick to get rid of a pet but continue to have more kids. When things get hard no one gives their kids up, and yet even still those bipeds end up costing so much more than the children do.
    Good for you. The threats to make someone take your animals, your choice and in many cases your mistake that you didn’t think through, is crap.
    I have to my herd 9 guinea pigs, my dog from and my cat. My rats are gone now. Then my SO has 2 small children and his two cats and for the last few months everything has been working on my income only and his food stamps.
    YES IT SUCKS. But he has his kids and I have mine. My animals are no less than my family. I would love to take on another Tommy Gargoyle, Yue or Angel or Lila or other guinea pigs… My mom told me I can’t save them all. I have learned my limitations.

    • Thank you!!!!! YES!!! It’s about time someone said it!

  2. AMEN!
    So tired of people trying to guilt me into sacrificing resources (including my sanity) that I cannot afford to give up.

    A note to Kayla: “When things get hard no one gives their kids up…”

    Oh, how I wish that were true. Kids are tossed aside every day. Many suffer in an environment where they have been abandoned within their own home. The law makes it difficult to abandon children, so they suffer the resentment of their caretakers – physically and mentally. They are no better off than animals who also become victims of their owners’ frustrations.

    There should be some sort of licensing requirement before you may own an animal or birth a child. Taking responsibility for another life is the most important thing *I* can think of.

  3. in all honesty, aside from the personal issues, (types of clothing in closet, number of and species of pets, careers and so on …..) without using any form of what would be considered “offensive” language, you have expressed my feelings exactly!
    I almost feel as if ‘I’ got something of ‘my’ chest.
    Unfortunately, anyone having done such a thing, or anyone who would ever do such a thing, would never even get through the entire blog. If, they were to manage to somehow find it, at all.
    No one wants to accept the responsibility of causing death to a living being. And then, above all, have to feel the guilt of it! In this society? Good luck with that one.
    There is deadly disease infecting the Country, and has been for quite some time. One major symptom being irresponsibility. Which, of course, leads to countless other symptoms. So far, no sign of any ‘interest’ in even looking for a cure has been shown, or, even acknowledgment of there being a disease at all, bu the majority of the population. All the while, careless breeding continues in an overwhelmingly, ‘already over populated, with any species’, Country.
    Being that humans claim themselves to be the highest of all intelligent animal life on the planet, and then, observing all of which humans have to present in evidence to show for such a claim, I am very doubtful that this disease will even be detected by enough people, until there is no possibility for anyone, to ignore it or blame it, on anyone else, at all.

    I almost feel as if ‘I’ got something of ‘my’ chest.

  4. LOVED IT!

    They should all have to read this, too:

    How Could You?

    When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. …

    Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.
    My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect.

    We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

    Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

    She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” — still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

    Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a prisoner of love.”

    As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

    There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

    Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

    I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.”

    You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed, “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.
    You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”

    They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago.

    At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream… or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

    When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room.

    She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

    As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.

    She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago.

    She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured “How could you?”

    Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself –a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place.

    And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

    Jim Willis, 2001

  5. I could type out a loooong response to your above blog… but I think I’ll just give you a standing ovation and you can get my drift 😉 Keep doing what you are doing!

  6. I know exactly what you mean. The problem I have is, if we don’t listen to these death threats, what happens to the animals?? That question keeps me up at night and, each time I think I’ve reached my limit and will not be suckered into rescuing again from an irresponsible low-life, I find myself “enabling” such assholes because I can’t stand to think the animals are in peril in their care. It’s a dilemma–should we keep people to their responsibilities and potentially endanger the animals’ lives, or should we “enable” their behavior by listening to their pleas?

  7. You go girl! Unpopular or not, you are dead on, IMHO!

  8. You go. Girl. My retinas are still scarred from a visit to a rescue group that took on too many animals and couldn’t take care of them properly. Intentions were good, but there were just too many and too few resources. So the animals suffer… I’m pretty pissed about that too…

    Some people are suggesting sterilizing humans who “have to” give up their pets. No more pets, no more children… Sounds reasonable to me…

  9. Well Done. It needed saying, and you said it loud and clear!

    ‘Nuff said.

  10. Thanks for writing what I’ve been feeling for so long! As one who’s had pets for extended lifetimes (average age of our furkids tended into the late teens) the idea of abandoning or “giving them up” even at the hard times is impossible!

    Thank you for expressing the anger that is felt when people try to guilt you into taking on their pets. Currently, my mother in law is attempting that with my husband, despite us being the ones living in a no-pets rental. They own their own home with a yard and she’s trying to get us to negotiate a lease-conditions change so she doesn’t have to “worry” about one of the 4 cats! Ironically, it’s the oldest and most lovable of them. I suspect there’s actually something wrong with the poor old thing and she’s trying to avoid the inevitable costs for vet etc.

    Thanks for this blog, and thanks for being one of the people who cares enough to help.

    Blessings to you and yours.

  11. Thank you for voicing the truth. I will never move anyplace that will not accept pets ( even if I have to pay an additional deposit). If for some reason I am totally incapacitated & can no longer care for my cats, I have decided to have them euthanized rather than leave them to an uncertain future.

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