In my spare time, instead of doing anything useful or practical, I have this masochistic obsession with checking animal shelter websites and places like gumtree.com where people rehome/sell their own pets. Why is this masochistic, you might ask? Because I know I can’t have them but I keep fooling myself, with every new adorable picture, that I COULD! But no, really I can’t.
But particularly with the private ads of people selling/rehoming their own pets, I get very judgemental of their excuses for doing so. The reasons they list range from merely vague, “Selling for genuine reasons” ( then why can’t you admit them if they’re so genuine??), to downright ludicrous, “Sale due to a death in the family” – what did the cockatoo do? Sing rude showtunes at the funeral? Or did he actually kill Aunt Bessie???
The worst, in my opinion, are the reasons which are entirely avoidable. These are the most common, sadly enough. Most often I see examples of dogs in particular being “Sold due to new baby” which I find a terrible reason to get rid of a pet. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, and you’re of childbearing years and of the inclination to do so, that should be one of the considerations you bear in mind BEFORE getting the animal. And why is the dog not compatible with the child? If you’ve trained it right, which it seems 80% of the population are incapable of, then it only takes a command or two to keep a dog in line no matter the situation. And if it becomes an issue of having time for the dog, well personally I would delight in having an opportunity to either plonk child in a pram and go out into the countryside together, or to make husband/partner watch the child whilst I do so alone.
Similar to that one is the “Selling because I don’t have time for it anymore” excuse. In some cases, the person in question claims that “it’s not fair” on the dog that they now work long hours. Perhaps true, but is the upheaval of taking a dog from its home and giving it to a stranger, giving it all kinds of abandonment issues, any fairer? I have a hard time believing that it is.
Another most common is a vague statement of “Selling due to change in circumstances” and apparently those circumstances can be so dire that the animal needs to go today or else. I really can’t imagine what changing circumstances require someone to chuck their pet in 24 hours or less, unless someone’s house is currently burning down and they know they’ll be homeless before the day is through. And you know, plenty of homeless people still have pets! (Not that I condone owning a pet if you can’t afford to even put a roof over its head, mind.)
But no, I lied, avoidable reasons are not the worst. The worst are ones like this: “Selling my son’s gecko because he bought it and no longer wants it” – after 2 weeks, apparently this gecko failed to live up to the expectations of this child of undisclosed age. I guess he didn’t remember to get the magical flying-and-does-your-homework gecko. Maybe he thought that “leopard gecko” was a combination of a leopard and a gecko? And when it didn’t suddenly turn into a half-cat half-lizard he got bored?? Sheesh. That his parent allowed him to get it, and then was generous to help him get rid of it again, says a lot about the problem of irresponsible pet ownership!
So basically I’m saying that I think people are far too quick to get rid of animals. And also, far too quick to get those animals in the first place without thinking through how that animal could fit, or not, into their inevitably changing lives. It pisses me off seeing so many animals basically being swapped around from home to home over the course of their lives.
There might be some true “genuine reasons” out there for giving away/selling your pets, but they’re few and far between. Personally, even though I only have my silly chickens I already can’t imagine having to give them up. I might have a “change in circumstances”, but I thought that through before we got them and have a contingency plan in place. It’s not that hard, people.
Pets are for life, not just for Christmas! Whether that life is yours, or the pet’s, might depend on if you get that murderous cockatoo…