Please DON’T bring me home for the holidays
by Gerri B
I have been asked by one of your members, Ruth, to share this writing with you. I wrote this a couple of years ago and sent it to the local paper in the hope it may open a few eyes. Seeing as Christmas is so close I thought I’d share it…… I’ll warn you though – it’s graphic.
Please DON’T bring me home for the holidays.
Every year about this time plans are being hatched, secrets are being made. This is finally the year that little Johnny is old enough to get that puppy, for little Joanie to get that adorable kitten. Every year thousands of pets come “home for the holidays.”
Johnny’s eyes fill with excitement when he sees that wiggling little body race toward him. His parents thought they were being good pet owners. They had listened to the stories about dogs being ignored in favour of all the excitement of Christmas day. They gave Johnny the puppy on Boxing Day. He promises to take “Joey” for a walk three times a day, to keep him fed and give him fresh water. He spends Boxing Day playing and romping with Joey, so happy to get this present he’s always wanted.
For the first few days he is true to his promise. He takes Joey outside for his walks. He makes sure Joey always has food and water. By mid March the excitement is starting to wear thin. Who wants to take a puppy that is growing quickly for a walk when Johnny could be playing his Wii? His mom yells at him to come clean up the mess Joey has made on her clean kitchen floor. Joey is no longer a cute little puppy. He is growing and bored because no one pays attention to him. So he starts to chew on things he knows he shouldn’t. Windowsills, shoes, chair legs, whatever his teeth can find.
Fast forward a year. That cute little pup is now a large dog. No room in the house for an animal who cannot behave, cannot be housebroken. He is tied to a dog house, no insulation, no blankets to keep him warm. Forced to find what small warmth he can huddled into as small of a ball as he can make himself. His unpalatable food is thrown into a filthy, mud caked dog dish. Gone were the days when he was a happy puppy. Johnny has forgotten him.
Joanie squealed with delight as her father handed her a sweet bundle of fur. It was so tiny it fit into her two hands. “Oh daddy, thank you!! I promise I will take care of her forever!” And Joanie was true to her word. She faithfully fed little Tiger. She grumbled a little every time she had to clean the litter box. She spent time playing with Tiger. She loved her so much. But Tiger got bigger. Her hormones started to kick in. She reacted the way a cat does. She started yowling for a mate, trying to escape every time a door was opened. She needed relief from the incessant cravings of her body. Joanie’s parents didn’t want to have to pay to get her spayed. They didn’t know with a little research they could have found some programs to help pay for the operation.
One night Joanie’s mom had finally had enough of Tiger’s yowls. She opened the door and put her out. Tiger came back a couple of days later, relaxed and happy to be home. A few weeks later the parents noticed her getting fatter. They sure didn’t sign on for a bunch of kittens. No way!! Joanie sobbed as her dad drove out to the country with Tiger and dropped her at the side of a road. Tiger was confused. How did she find her way home now? She quickly found out she needed to start hunting. She had babies coming she would need to look after.
Fast forward for Tiger. She had raised her kittens and sent them on to do what cats do. Procreate. No human hand would ever touch any of them. But they would create hundreds of new lives. All unwanted. All fighting to survive.
Tiger was chasing a mouse across the road one day, so intent on catching it and finally finding some food for her grumbling belly that she didn’t hear the car approaching.
The force of the impact threw her tiny body into the ditch. Did death come instantly? No. Her pain wracked body fought for hours before finally giving into blessed oblivion.
Please do the responsible thing. If you are getting a pet for Christmas please reconsider. It is a large responsibility to have a pet. They deserve a lifetime of love; not just a few weeks until their cuteness has worn off. Before making the monumental decision sit down as a family and decide who is responsible for looking after this new member of the family. Get the puppy or kitten after the holidays when life has returned to normal. Dogs need walked. Cats need clean litter boxes and lots of cuddling. They also do not need to be outside. Cats can live quite happily indoors. Most importantly please spay and neuter. There are many low cost spay/neuter programs out there if you can not afford to pay the vet’s price. Spend some time to find one and then take your pet to be fixed. Most vets will fix pets at around six months. We need to be responsible for our pets.