If you can’t afford to buy or grow food for your family, what the hell makes you think you can afford a pet? Or, worse yet, pets? I’m all for companionship and saving animals from the CERTAIN DOOM of euthanasia, but give your head a shake. What, did you think that dog would survive on grass and cigarette butts? You think the cat *wants* to eat whatever’s left of your two-dollar-Tuesday McFlippin’s?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those people who think animals should have more rights than people. Many animals are food. But just like you can’t plant a bunch of vegetables and expect that if you let them fend for themselves with no tending you’ll still get a bountiful harvest, you can’t expect an animal to thrive on air and good intentions. The animals who aren’t food fall into two categories: wild, who *can* fend for themselves; and domesticated, who *don’t*. Well, they *will*, if they have to, but then they get classed as dangerous animals and they end up getting impounded.
And sure, I get it – you had a great income; a nice, nuclear family with two and a half kids and a dog, and then you fell on hard times, and now you’re having problems feeding everyone. I get that. I’m not talking about you.
I’m talking about the jackoffs like Little White Trash Jax who used to live in the basement. LWTJ was on welfare because he was too lazy to work. He was one of those. His girlfriends (a succession of gullible and sadly broken young women) saw something in him that I never understood – was it his B.O.? Was it that he was *dangerous*, sleeping with a machete under his pillow because of the demons that chased him through his dreams? Was it that they wanted to piss off their parents? Probably some of all of the above…his girlfriends brought him take-away food, and cheap noodles from the no-name store. And they went on dates to the food bank. Where they also got cat food for the family of rats they kept as pets.
Wait. Back up now. LWTJ couldn’t afford to pay the $200 in rent-and-utilities each month, but he could afford tailor-mades and a family of rats as pets?
It’s true. But the poor things lived in cages that were too small, and LWTJ let them breed and eat their young and live in their own filth and he only fed them when he could. God only knows how many of them he crushed under his beaten-up runners. And he didn’t see anything wrong with this. Granted, LWTJ had other problems. Like threatening Yours Truly with the aforementioned machete for letting the plumbers in to fix the sewer backup he hadn’t mentioned for a week. After he’d already pulled said machete on the city workers whose visit was announced a day early.
Like the kids Yours Truly picked up hitchiking from Vancouver to Toronto with their black Lab, Mister. The kids had no money for food or for smokes or for Mister. They were getting by on whatever they could beg, borrow, or steal. Sure, I bought them lunch and a bag of dog food. Because I felt damned sorry for the dog who didn’t choose to live with people who didn’t think further than their next stop as to how they’d feed him.
Or the friend who for five years refused to get a job (pumping gas was beneath her) and still found the ill-advised resources to adopt five stray cats. She didn’t even have a place to live for six months, but slept in another friend’s attached garage with her hungry beasts.
I get it! I know you love them! I know you assume they love you! (Incidentally, I don’t think animals really do “love you”. They might respect you as their leader, or they might tolerate you as the bearer-of-food or cleaner-of-poop, but love is a human emotion. And I think pets *can* be devoted to you. But love? I dunno.) But you’re *harming* them.
Just…just…think, okay? Just think. If you can’t afford for your own self to be healthy, wouldn’t it be best for your beloved animals to have a home where they, at least, can be?
Also: critters with more than four legs, unless they are Chernobyl mammals, are not meant to be pets.