Joan Dorsey
Guest columnist
Ahhh Christmas.
Such a special time of year. The season brings out the best and, I am afraid worst in people.
I am a follower of Facebook. I get to visit with cousins and friends and people I really like to chat with.
I like to scan the groups here in Gardner. Some groups give away used items for free to whomever is in need. Some groups help people track a pet who has wandered. Some people post garage sales and items left curbside.
As I was glancing through the local updates I noticed a person looking for a kitten for her daughter to “unwrap” Christmas morning. First of all I have been around small animals since before I could walk or talk. I have rescued my share of cats and found homes for unwanted dogs and even birds.
Never, never, never give a living animal to a person as a gift. If the animal is wanted take the recipient with you and make the choice together.
Cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, even hamsters and fish do not make good Christmas gifts.
There is nothing in this world that is as sweet as a puppy or kitten. What excitement on Christmas! A small furry creature to play with what could be better? Puppy kisses and puppy breath – small body to snuggle with.
But wait! What happens right after the presents are unwrapped? Someone has to take over and take care of what is basically a baby in a fur wrapper. There are some really cold days and nights ahead, and who wants to get up at 2 a.m. and let a puppy outside.
But we do it for the kids, right?
It is what they want. Right?
Besides we can keep them a few months and then we can just go to Facebook and re-home them. Right?
Re-home, for those of you not familiar with this word – let me enlighten you. It is where an animal, pet or companion, is found another place to live because of a situation that “can’t be helped.” Usually the owner charges you a fee to take their animal.
I understand finding a home for a pet of a loved one who has gone into a nursing facility or has passed away.
I understand an unknown health issue surfacing and having to find a new place for kitty to live.
What I don’t understand is getting these animals and then discarding them like so much wrapping paper.
Animals are NOT disposable. They are not temporary.
Right now in my home I have a cat that was eating bird feeder suet when she came to live with me. A little girl cat. She had been someone’s kitten. Slept in the crook of your arm. She was carried around by a person. Held all the time and loved. But when she came in season, out the door she went.
When I moved she came with me. We are in this to the end.
Pets are not disposable. You don’t throw Grandma out when she gets old or makes a mess; you don’t throw away pets.
GreatPlains SPCA has very low cost spay and neuter and vaccination programs. Look them up on Google. They do wonderful work and even have vet care that is affordable.
Lastly, what are you teaching your children? Pets teach compassion and caring for a life other than your own. They teach children to make choices and be better people in general.
Dumping and ditching pets because they are no longer cute or convenient to take care of is not a good life lesson.
I hope the person in search of a kitten – and all the others wanting a furry live body for Christmas – intends on keeping that pet forever.
Or I hope they don’t find one.