Homeless Pets & the Housing Market

One of the things that has bugged me a lot over the years is how irresponsible people are over the commitment to pets. Many people don’t have one–so when the road gets tough–the animals get relinquished or abandoned.

At one time I worked as an adoption counselor. It was one of the most heartbreaking jobs of my career. People would leave their pets outside the shelter hoping we would keep them and gave ridiculous reasons for relinquishing the animal.

Now the reasons for dumping the animals? They didn’t have permission from their landlord, the pets were too unruly, they were allergic, they were too expensive, they made a mess, the left fur on the furniture and carpet, they didn’t have time for them, they didn’t match the latest outfit (okay, okay, I just stuck that in to see if you were paying attention), and now in my area one shelter says they are seeing an increase as foreclosures escalate.

This is a theory mind you as since some of the other regional shelters are not reporting an increase. I suspect the fee differences and other requirements (or lack of) are among the reasons. However, this coincides with recent stats saying parts of this area are among the highest for foreclosures.

So, check out this article about four-legged victims of foreclosure.

I remember the one time in my life where my father made me go relinquish the cat I rescued and saved to the animal shelter. Her cries and wide eyes are etched in my memory and it was one of the worst things (in many) that my family did–and to have a kid deal with it–well that is a different topic altogether. I have a couple of examples when life dealt a tough decision when it came to animals but that one was the worst.

My comments on this suspected trend are not forgiving. Today’s throw away society is creating havoc on the earth. It used to be that you got large bottles of water or big containers with food instead of individual servings packaged for convenience. The trash generated by such changes ends up on my local hiking trails and in the lake. Not great for the environment and the local wildlife who get injured by the crap.

No longer do shoes go to the cobbler, they go in the trash and then end up in a landfill. My last hair dryer lasted 20 years but the new one didn’t even get used much and bit the dust in less than a year…and don’t get me onto the lousy clothing market or vehicle manufacturing and the lousy petroleum industry when other options have been around for at least 40 years that I know of.

My point is that the lifelong problem of pet relinquishment fits right in this type of picture. If people were committed to their pets they would keep them no matter what. I’ve seen many a homeless person with their pet. They often work to get food for the animal to make sure the critter is taken care of…never mind that the pets they have are often better behaved that most families.

I interviewed one homeless man with his dog and he shared some of the things the two had to do, like sleep under the stars. Shelters wouldn’t accommodate them together so he chose to be out in the elements rather than abandon his dog or sleep in a place where critters were not allowed. He did jobs for food for himself and his pet…

If you have guessed that this topic has pissed me off, you are right. It is time that people quit getting pets as disposable property and then abandoning them due to inconvenience. AND don’t think I don’t know about this issue. I lost everything about 12 years ago–including a place to live–but my pets stayed with me and things worked out. The most stress was over their care and comfort and how I would feed them–but not for one moment would I have considered giving them up.

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