FOR THE LOVE OF PETS

I stood in line at the grocery store the other day behind a senior while she silently divided her purchases in half. When the conveyor belt finally inched forward and her items reached the cashier, the store’s employee asked if the customer wanted to be billed separately for the two orders.

Shaking her head no, the senior explained that the second pile, containing items like fresh vegetables, toilet bowl cleaner, and a bag of uncracked walnuts were just extras, and she’d see what the first group totalled before she decided if she was going to buy the remainder.  

Of course, I had to take a peek at her front allotment to see exactly what this lady had deemed a necessity. Front and center, the first items up on the belt were 12 neatly stacked tins of cat food. They were obviously top priority for purchase, and anything after would be evaluated according to price.  

This same scenario plays over and over in stores all across the world. Seniors, and others on fixed budgets, have been known to cutback on their own necessities just to accommodate their beloved pets. With pension cutbacks, layoffs, and rampant unemployment, I can imagine these cases are probably rising.

If you’re not sure how pets are revered in today’s society, stop by your local grooming salon and take a seat in the waiting room. You’ll see clients pulling out their plastic to pay for services that many deem unnecessary.

Having been an animal lover all my life, I’ve never met a cat yet that needed their coat trimmed, other than the odd Persian whose fur had become entangled with briars. And personally, I don’t think dogs enjoy being sprayed any hue of green to accentuate the scalped fur on their backs that’s been trimmed to look like a dinosaur.

Experience has taught pet owners that necessary trips to the veterinary clinic rarely come in under $100 plus medication, and the fees for some advanced treatments can run into the thousands, or even more, when faced with possibly long term chemo treatments for advance staged cancers. No wonder pet insurance is becoming commonplace for many registered breed owners.

Properly taking care of pets we’ve chosen to bring into our homes is our responsibility. But beyond regular health checks, vaccinations, and emergency care for accidents, I don’t know if I would choose to treat a terminal pet with advanced veterinary medicine? How in the world would you explain to your pet that you were just trying to possibly prolong their lives as the vet approached, ready to perform yet another painful procedure?

It’s a predicament I’ve gratefully never had to face with a husband who is a strong believer in the ‘kolbassa method’. That’s where you take a very old, or injured animal into the bush and feed them a ring of their favorite ham sausage before humanely putting them down. This second step involves yet another trick from the farmer’s handbook known as the ‘lead solution’.

Anytime a house pet of mine has been ready to pass, always from advanced age, I’ve paid for the vet to put them to sleep. That was a personal choice of mine, and I don’t judge the farming community who live a much different life than many urban dwellers.  

No matter what hour of the day or night, tuning into your TWITTER, PINTEREST or especially your FACEBOOK account will bring on a flood of posts from pet lovers around the globe. Cats whose intertwined tails have formed a heart shape are right beside dogs with sunglasses and ballet tutus. Amazing pet tricks and animals who’ve sacrificed their personal safety to rescue a human are all over YOUTUBE.

Pets are intricate members of our families. To some individuals, their pets have attained a position of worth even above those of other humans in their lives. So, the question remains, how much would you sacrifice for an animal that shows you unconditional love?

Of the 800,000+ employees affected by the government shutdown in the U.S., I think it’s a safe estimation that at least one third were pet owners. With no employment checks for over a month, and the bills hitting disastrous proportions, people must have asked whether their pet’s feeding and care was a necessity?

It’s been reported that a handful of shelters chose to provide donated pet food to help keep families together. The options being unimaginable if people were forced to line up to surrender their pets because of an inability to feed them, as most shelters already operate near capacity.  

Pets, whether they have fur, scales, skin, or feathers, need proper care. In return, many offer us unconditional love and a form of companionship that we don’t find anywhere else. Drive through a residential neighborhood late afternoon and count the cats you see sitting in windows scanning the streets for their owners, or dogs jumping to attention in backyards every time the echo of footsteps alerts them to a passerby.

They miss us too. And they don’t care if we need to dye our roots, we ignored our mother’s phone call, or that we flirted with the cabdriver, just so he’d help carry our purchases up the stairs. Our pets can offer some of the most accepting love that many of us will experience in our lifetime.

Not everyone grew up behind a white-picket fence with nurturing parents, loving partners, and wonderful children. We don’t all leave work with a pat on a back for surviving another hectic day, and we don’t all feel like we even deserve love. But our pets don’t care. They love us anyway, and because of this simple fact, we choose to make sacrifices to ensure their continued lives and their comfort.

As a proud member of THE FIFTY CANDLES CLUB, I have to report that I did pay for that senior’s second half of groceries. Admittingly a struggle, as she was very leery about accepting a stranger’s help. But she did get on the bus with her cat food, and her fresh veggies, and I went home to see if my fur babies had stopped ripping apart my balls of yarn.     

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3 thoughts on “FOR THE LOVE OF PETS

  1. Thank you so much for your writing and acknowledging that animals of all types are God’s gift to His human creation. As a Christian, I feel many do not grasp the hidden meaning in our Lord having Adam name the animals but even more powerful, commanding Noah to bring them on the ark. The God that created the world and all the universes did not need Noah’s help… when the waters receded he could have snapped His fingers and all the animals would have reappeared. Instead, He wanted to show the bond that was intended for man and animals to have by making room on the ark.
    You are a gifted and talented writer and I look forward of being a frequent visitor to your website. Well done good and faithful servant.

    1. Thank you Ray for your post on my website. You are right, animals are cherished beings, and any mistreatment by man is overwhelming proof that some men/women are not worthy of even calling themselves pet owners.

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