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My soapbox: STOP dumping animals

By BECKY CRISSMAN

becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

I am about to do something that I rarely do when writing a column…. I am about to step on my soapbox for a minute or two, maybe more depending on how fast or slow you read, and touch on a subject that really grinds my gears….. That is people who abandon animals.

Now, before I start my rant, I must say that I am an animal lover. I am the proud aunt of two furry nephews…. My niece Megan’s dog Whiskey, a Boston Terrier/Jack Russell mix that can warm the heart when he wags his little nubby tail. I remember the day he joined our family, it was wintertime and my niece did not want him to be cold so my brother had to buy him a hoodie to come home in. From the day she brought him into the house he won the hearts of everyone, even my dad, who is the toughest egg to crack sometimes. He really is a softy he just doesn’t like folks to know.

Whiskey greets me everyday at the front door, which brightens me up after the worst of days.  Sometimes he will just jump on the couch and lay his head in my lap, begging for a scratch behind the ears. Of course it is impossible to get through a meal without those little begging eyes staring me down, hoping I drop a morsel on the floor, even though he has a bowl full of fresh food waiting on him. Of course no matter how many times I tell him I am not giving him what I have he always ends up getting at least a bite or two.

Then there is Albert, my sister-in-law’s Chihuahua that I have affectionately nicknamed Cujo because he barks at everything like he is some savage, fierce beast. Albert is still new to our family and has won my affection now that he understands the hallway outside my bedroom door is NOT a bathroom. We had many arguments over this issue. He too will always greet me at the front door, but you have to watch out for his tail because when it gets going it is like a small bullwhip. He and Whiskey are in constant competition for attention and Whiskey most especially is prone to be jealous if his mommy shows affection to anybody but him. The two of them get along and play like brothers though.

Now, as any true pet lover will tell you, their animals are not animals they are their fur babies. They are members of their family, NOT PROPERTY. That is how my family feels about Whiskey and Albert.

Now I am going to step on that soapbox I mentioned earlier. It pains me to see that the heart of society has gotten so cold that people just toss animals like these on the streets every single day. They just toss them out like garbage and leave them to die and many often do. It takes me back to when I was about 18 and coming home one day a puppy ran out in the road in front of me near a dumpster on Tremont Road. I got out to get the puppy and discovered his 10 brothers and sisters in the dumpster, just left there by some heartless, worthless excuse for a human being. Now I have NEVER been one to dumpster dive, but I did that day. I found homes for 10 of the babies but kept the one I almost hit and named him Lucky.

The mother of a dear friend of mine several years ago found a pit bull outside dumpsters near the Farmer’s Market. Weighing only 18 lbs you could see every rib and every raise in his spine. He could barely hold his head up to eat a cracker and drink water. He was covered with fleas and suffering from a bad case of mange. She took him home and cleaned him up, took him to the vet and now J.R. is a big baby, happy and well cared for. He loves his mommy who saved his life and is her faithful companion. He wouldn’t bite a biscuit unless they were dumb enough to get between him and his mommy. He has truly been a blessing in her life… A blessing that some awful person just tossed away. I guess it is true, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and J.R. has certainly proven that.

Now I come to the point of the matter….. There is no written law ANYWHERE that says, “You must own a pet” so if you are not prepared to care for that pet DON’T GET ONE!!!!!!! Don’t get a pet on an emotional whim because your kid’s favorite movie star has one and they just have to have one too. Pets are great for kids but teach them to be responsible and remember puppies grow up and the new wears off. Make sure they are ready for the responsibility.

Pets love us, unconditionally. They love us no matter what mood we are in. They love us when we look our worst or our best. Unlike most people they don’t care about social status or how much money we have, all they want is for us to toss that ball or give them a nice belly rub or scratch behind the ear (all three is even better). All they know is we are their human and they love us. They also depend on us. They can’t fill their own food or water dish. They can’t drive themselves to the vet or pay for it when they get there. They can’t give themselves needed medicine or a bath, even though some don’t like it anyway. They are completely dependent on their humans for survival.

So if you can’t devote the time, money and energy then just don’t do it. Above all, if you have a pet and find you can’t care for he or she properly stop throwing them out and leaving them to die. If you cannot pay for puppies there are many solutions. First have your pet spayed or neutered for this is the ultimate solution to the excess of stray puppies that are turning up all over our communities. Before you drive down that lonely dirt road or up to a dumpster, find a no kill shelter and turn the animal or animals in to someone who does care and will work to help find them homes.

NO animal deserves to be abandoned. They deserve to receive the same love they give to us. Our pets are a gift to us from God. The Bible says in Proverbs 12:10,“A righteous man regards the life of his animal.”

I will step off the soapbox now. For those of you with a heart for animals contact your local shelter and foster or adopt a pet. If you cannot do either, make a donation to assist your local NO KILL shelter. They are always in need of food, supplies, and means to provide needed medical treatment to abandoned animals.