Pretentious Pet Parents

I felt my face begin to flush.  My hands clenched into fits at my sides.  I tried closing my eyes and quickly counting
to ten.  This proved to be
ineffective.  My mouth opened and nothing
but pure anger poured forth.

What could spark such outrage?  Had I stepped in a warm, brown present from
one of my dogs?  Was it a sports game
going horribly awry?  Did my husband
forget to take the trash out yet again? 
No, I was watching “My Cat From Hell.”

This particular episode featured a
woman who had adopted a beautiful Bengal cat. 
Her reasons?  She had always
wanted a “designer cat.”  This breed
attracted her because they “look cool.” 
I could tell that I was not going to like this woman.

The cat basically wanted nothing to
do with her.  If the woman approached,
the cat threw out a quick paw and drew a scratch.  This sent the owner into a fit for the rest
of the show.  She would ignore the cat,
even refusing to look in its’ direction.

Jackson Galaxy did his best to be
polite, but I could tell he was thinking exactly what I was:  She does not deserve to have this cat (or any
animal for that matter)!  He asked if she
ever interacted with the boisterous Bengal. 
The woman’s response?  “I buy her
toys.”

I watched in horror as she grabbed
a feather stick and simply plopped the feather into the cat’s face.  Within seconds, the cat became bored and
walked away.  Jackson told her that she
was not engaging the cat at all.  “Be the
bird,” he said.

The woman then admitted that she
was still mad about the cat scratching her. 
Jackson and I were blown away. 
She showed no love to the cat at all, yet expected her furry friend to
adore her at all times.

My initial reaction is that this
woman should not be a pet owner.  She
seemed more concerned about her looks than gaining the trust and love of her
cat.  I fear that too many pet owners act
the same way.

A former co-worker of mine had
adopted a dog named Ginger.  At first, he/she
gushed about how amazing and sweet the pup was. 
Ginger seemed to fit into the family perfectly.

One day, the co-worker asked me for
some advice.  He/she said that Ginger had
begun to urinate, but only when he/she looked at her.  This immediately threw up a red flag to me.  There had to be something that this person
was doing to make Ginger fearful enough to urinate just from eye contact.

I delicately probed and asked if
there had been any recent changes in their daily routines.  In a moment of honesty, he/she said, “Well,
Ginger wouldn’t go outside the other day, so I kick—scooted her out the door
with my foot.”

I knew exactly what this
meant.  He/she had kicked Ginger.  I kept my suspicions to myself because I did
not want to ruin an opportunity to perhaps find the dog a better home.  Instead, I provided several suggestions and
informed the co-worker to call or text me at any time.

Two weeks later, while shopping in
Target, I received a text:   “Would you
be interested in keeping Ginger?”  My
heart dropped into my stomach.  As my
husband will attest, I would love to keep every animal that is on this
planet.  Sadly, our town has a strict
limit on the number of dogs and cats that we are allowed to have.

I asked if there was any way that I
could foster Ginger instead.  This way,
she would be out of the harmful situation she was in with my co-worker and I
could begin the search for a perfect forever home for her.  He/she wavered for a moment, but soon
agreed.

As luck would have it, my mother
and father-in-law came over for a visit and fell in love with Ginger.  She even won the heart of their established
Min Pin, Kallee.  It was only after they
officially adopted her did they find out that not only was Ginger heartworm
positive, but she also had a cracked tooth and ear mites!

I cannot even begin to fathom
allowing any of my fur babies to reach such a decline.  I would (and have) gone without in order for
them to have the necessary care that they need. 
They deserve nothing less.

Why do people adopt pets that they
clearly have no intention of taking care of? 
Many of the animals in local shelters and rescue groups have already had
a horrible start to their lives.  They
have been used for breeding over and over again for sheer profit.  Some have been physically abused for
“fun.”  Still, others suffer from
psychological traumas.

Adopting an animal is not something
to be taken lightly.  To me, it should be
taken as seriously as planning to have a human child.  There are numerous items that need to be
considered before following through with an adoption.  The most important items being:

1.      Do you have
enough time to devote to your new furry friend?
2.      Can you
afford to care for your new companion, even when he/she gets sick?
I never knew that doggy dermatologists actually existed.  That is until our Chihuahua, Adriel, began
losing her fur after having a skin infection. 
We spent over $500 on skin biopsies, medications and appointments.  Similarly, when our 14 year old Chihuahua,
Theo, developed glaucoma, we spent a pretty penny taking him to a veterinary
ophthalmologist.  He had several eye
tests and has been placed on $60 eye drops for life.  
My husband and I are not rich by any stretch of
the imagination, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep our furry
family members happy and healthy.

But adopting animals is about more than just money.  There is also the time factor.  We, as humans, seem to be perpetually getting
busier and busier.  Our weekends are
filled with events and making preparations for the upcoming week.  Where does Fido fit into the hurricane that
is life?

Simply buying food and toys for our pets is not enough.  They need to be showed that they are loved
and treasured every day.  Dogs and cats
need exercise, otherwise their boredom can come out in very destructive
ways.  Our cats (and three-legged dog) go
crazy for the laser pointer.  They will
chase that little red dot all around the room.

Several of our dogs prefer to play with their toys solo.  Still, others love to play tug-of-war with
their plush squeakies.  No matter how
they choose to play, we always make time for individual tubby rubs and cuddles.  I want to make sure that all of our pets know
just how much they mean to us.

These wonderful animals enrich our lives in so many
ways.  They are a fantastic support
system that can cheer me up on the most horrible of days.  Their kisses bring an instant smile to my
face and a warmth to my heart.  Watching
them interact with the world around them reminds me to take joy in the small
things.

Potential pet parents also need to realize that every pet has
an occasional bad day.  There will be
accidents on the freshly vacuumed carpet. 
Cats will have their moody days and adorn your leg with a fresh scratch.  In truth, they are just like us.  This does not make them any less deserving of
unconditional love.

Thankfully, the woman on “My Cat From Hell” finally saw the
light.  She stopped treating her designer
cat as a fashion statement and actually began to take a genuine interest in its
well being.  Play time became a flurry of
interaction ending with snuggles on the couch.

Being a true pet parent means going beyond simply signing
adoption papers.  It means truly
committing to your new family member every day. 
Pets are not meant to be status symbols, fashion statements or fighting
machines.  They are meant to be loved
unconditionally, which is exactly the kind of love that they give in return.

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