These dogs are sort of in a pickle
A friend of mine asked me to take care of his two dogs for a week. I said sure. Even though they are big dogs—labradors—and my house is small, a week was doable.
He brought the two dogs over and they are the sweetest things. They are sisters. They are around ten years old, so they aren’t spring chickens any more. One has a jacked up leg and she always favors it.
I’ve thought a lot about the dogs and about the subject of pet ownership.
The thing is that my friend started a job a couple of months ago that involves very long work days. Sometimes he’s away from home for over twelve hours. This means that the dogs don’t get outside for that whole time.
I know my friend feels very badly about this for the dogs, but there’s not much he can do. It’s not like he can run home in the middle of the work day to let the dogs out. And his neighbors aren’t the sort that he would trust to let in the house to let the dogs out.
He’s kind of in a jam.
One idea would be to get rid of the dogs. But anyone who has had pets for any length of time knows that pets become like part of the family, and giving a pet away is almost like giving a child away. I know that it would not be an option to give the dogs away. That would kill him. (Unless it was to someone he liked and trusted, and someone that he knew would like the dogs.)
Getting a pet is such an easy thing to do, and people enter into that commitment with such nonchalance. They just don’t often think about the ramifications of owning a pet, and about the responsibility of the ownership.
When a life situation occurs that makes it inconvenient to own a pet, then reality hits. And some people will just bail on the pet and give it away, or worse, abandon it.
Others don’t want to give the pet away and so they hang on to it throughout a situation that compromises the pet’s health. They’re kind of between a rock and a hard place.
The decision to give the pet away or put the pet down is just too hard and seems too inhumane or cruel.
My last dog came from a woman who loved the dog but felt terrible that he was stuck inside a crate all day. He was a great big lab who loved to be outside and moving around. The woman was looking for another home for him for his sake—so that he wouldn’t be alone all day and he wouldn’t be kept confined.
A friend of a friend put me together with the woman, and I ended up taking the dog. It was hard for her to see him go, but she was happy for his sake, knowing that he would be happier.
Pet ownership. You really have to think about what you’re getting into.