Being the season of giving and emotional there is a bombardment of photos and ads and pleas to adopt animals. Puppies and kittens with big wide eyes looking up at the camera with soft voices speaking of what a wonderful and thoughtful act it would be to adopt me. It really pulls at your heartstrings.
Then social media is full of people’s pets decorated in seasonal costumes to make the desire even more intense. What could be more adorable than a puppy stuffed in a stocking?
Being the normal kid I wanted a dog. Our family had a dog but I never paid any attention to it, then it was gone. My father was smart enough to realize what a dog requirements were and knew I wouldn’t provide them so he got me a stuffed dog like a prize at the state fair. I was disappointed but like any other kid, I found another fascination for the ‘want’ list.
None of my friends had a dog or a cat so I don’t know why I got the idea. I just think it was a boy must have a dog like Rin-Tin-Tin or Lassie. There was never any thought of food or walks or ticks or any of that disgusting stuff that comes with keeping an animal.
My family tried to accommodate my pet wish with a turtle purchased in the basement of a drug store that turned all green and moldy and died in it’s plastic pond with a palm tree and a hamster in a wire cage given to me by a friend who’s mother knew better. The hamster as it turned out was a pregnant mommy who had babies the next day and then ate them and then died.
After that I moved onto other interest.
Some of my friends as they married got dogs and cats. My roommate in college had a cat but I tried to avoid it whenever possible. My first wife had a cat and fleas and litter box and all the stuff that comes with a cat, but I referred the care to my wife and I just had to deal with it.
For a few years I went ‘pet-less’ and it was enjoyable. No critter to attack in the middle of the night or cry for food or poop on the bathroom floor was a relaxing.
I’m not against pets. I even kept a girl’s cat while she was moving. It was nice to have that soft purrrrr in my lap but I knew it was a temporary situation.
Then all hell broke loose.
I got married again.
She came with some furniture, clothing, a broken down car and a chipmunk in a wire cage and squeaky wheel. That was a sign of things to come but I was an innocent.
Pets, I consider, live within the walls of your home. Critters live outside in nature and do what they do without restrictions of walls and requirements of litter boxes.
With that said, I moved into a world of rabbits, cats, ferrets, fish, lizards, a squirrel and raccoons. They were all ‘pets’.
Then some kind of logic told me I should get a dog.
Now remember the dog from the 50’s was not my responsibility so I had no idea what was to come, but it was probably still a lost want.
A woman at work would find strays and adopt them and then find them homes. I’m a sucker for a 6-week old golden mix with big eyes, so she became part of our family.
I quickly learned dogs are different from parrots and turtles and snakes and fish and even cats.
Even with an established family of furry children, this one made her mark. The others immediately accepted her. It wasn’t her size or her different culture; she became part of the family.
I had the best intentions for this puppy to be trained and be a service dog, but things don’t always happen as intended. Dogs have a mystical attachment that consumes logic.
So what is the point?
It is the seasonal time when people are vulnerable to this weakness of emotions without thinking of the consequences.
The first few days of the cute puppy in a bow collar or a kitten pawing a ball of yarn look fine for Christmas post, and then they start peeing on everything and tearing down the tree and becoming annoying.
The kitten that jumps on your computer and deletes your emails or the dog that chews through your electrical cords. After a few days of shedding and pooping and crying and barking will make most families rethink their acceptance to this new member.
The point is when we fall for an emotional connection with a furry friend if we decide it is not the best decision it will be winter outside and you can’t throw these creatures away.