The Furry Muse, Pt. 2

After losing our beloved greyhound this past September, we finally decided we were ready to adopt a second dog. Rather than buy a purebred puppy, we prefer to give a down on its luck dog a second chance. We looked at a couple of different shelters (the saddest places I know) before deciding on Jewel, a medium-sized Boston terrier mix. She's one-and-a-half, loving (covers your face in Jewel drool if you don't watch out), gentle, playful, and thank the Lord housebroken -- and best of all, our other dog is thrilled to have a new buddy. Plus, Jewel's already learned that it's siesta time when Mom's on the computer. All in all, I think she was a great choice to fill the vacant auxillary muse position.

Jewel's also a good reminder to spay or neuter early. Like our younger mutt, Zippy, she was dropped off at the shelter after having an unwanted litter at less than 1 1/2. With so many animals put down every year for want of homes, it's inexcusable to allow random breeding to take place. (Except maybe in certain passages of our books... :)

What's also ticked me off (beside the zillions of tiny puppies and the plethora of huge dogs and adult cats that no one wants) is the profusion of tiny, poorly-bred, and sadly-neurotic Chihuahuas I've seen up for adoption. I'm blaming Paris Hilton, who thoughtlessly made the micro-foo foo dog a fashion accessory for countless young women -- a little, living doll to be dressed in matching outfits. The trouble is, when the fad passes, a cuter, tinier pup shows up on the horizon, or the dog turns out to be snappish, perpetually frightened, and difficult to housebreak (tiny bladders mean lots of trips out), these poor little creatures are often dumped, and shelter life scares them to death.

Since this isn't an animal rights blog (maybe animal writes, at times), I'll get off my soapbox. I just needed to get that off my chest.


Jen said…
I agree with your views on pets thrown away once their "newness" has worn off. It makes me sick when people buy a dog or other pet because a they see it in a movie or TV show, or celebrity has one. I don't really blame Hollywood so much as the irresponsible people who buy a pet because it's "cute," "cool" or "exotic." Too many people get pets without educating themselves on them. Many people think they know how to care for a pet, but we know a lot more today than we used to. If you ask most people, you feed birds seed. That's not true! Too much seed in a bird's diet is unhealthy. Seed is "junk food" for birds, and they should only eat a limited amount of it. Most cats are lactose-intolerant.

I feel, if you're going to get a pet, you should do some research first, or at least as soon as you get it (I understand, sometimes a situation requires quick action to save the animal), and keep learning all through the animal's life. If you get it quickly, and then find you really can't care for it properly, find it a permanent home as soon as possible.

Caring for an animal means more than feeding it and giving it water. It means proper shelter, nutrition, attention and veterinarian care. Not having enough money for vet care is not an excuse for neglecting your pet's health. I watch the new episodes of Animal Planet's "Animal Precinct" and related shows, and I've learned a lot. I've also seen a lot of animals who suffer, are neglected and abused. I saw a poll many months ago, I think on the Animal Planet site, asking how many people would report animal abuse if they saw it. I forget the numbers, but the majority (!!!) said they would not, because it wasn't any of their business!!! YES, IT IS YOUR BUSINESS! Just like with child abuse, it's your business. Animals can't speak for themselves.

I'm going off on a tangent, and have lots to do, so I'm going to stop here.

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your greyhound last year; I understand they make wonderful pets. It's wonderful that you're giving a homeless dog a home. Jewel sounds delightful and sweet. I'm sorry she's had a hard life, but I wish her and your family all the best for a happy future.
We're of one mind on this. People definitely have a responsibility to educate themselves on animals they're adopting. If they know what they're getting into, they will be a lot more happy endings.

Unfortunately, pet ownership, like parenthood (that's another soapbox), doesn't require a test for common sense or kindness.

And I'm a big fan of the Animal Heroes/Cops series on Animal Planet, too.
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