Stupid animals

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.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

9 Comments

  1. Just a thought. If you can’t care for yourself, what state of mind are you in to make rational choices about anything else in this world? Feeling worth sometimes just isn’t coming from within so you find it elsewhere – see getting a pet.
    I somehow don’t think this applies to LWTJ, but then, being crazy can impair one’s judgment on common sense.

    1. So, it’s okay to get a pet to make yourself feel better about yourself? So then you’re putting the responsibility for your mental health and self-confidence squarely on the shoulders of a critter that has no capacity to say “I don’t want this”. I mean, that’s kind of the crux of the question, really.

      But there are plenty of people who can’t care for themselves who have no problem with self-worth and who are perfectly capable of making rational choices about all kinds of things. Not all poor people are crazy or mentally instable, in other words. They’re just poor. But if they can’t afford to feed themselves, it’s a perfectly Bad Decision to invite another species into the fold.

  2. Oddly enough, I have actually gotten into this exact issue with an advocate for the Domestically Challenged (or whatever the appropriate buzzword is these days for homeless people) and asked basically that exact same question. She was a volunteer at Metro Turning Point, a men’s shelter helping men transition from the street and back into “mainstream” life.

    We get a lot of “street kids” out here in Halifax, probably due to the moderate temperatures. They tend to congregate in a few particular areas, mostly to panhandle and hustle some money for “food”. Not saying I don’t believe that the money they ask for is for food, but there are always doubts, right?

    Anyhow, they always seem to have a dog with them. And its usually a larger (i.e. needs more food) breed. You can’t find money to feed yourself, and you have another creature relying on you for life as well???

    Well, the answer I was given was that the dog is frequently a source of warmpth in the cold, as well as a guard for the owner and the owner’s meager collection of stuff. It was also pointed out that the vast majority of these dogs are strays already living on the streets, so its really not a change for the dogs to be hungry and having to root through the trash for food.

    Not saying that’s true, just what someone from

    1. Interesting.

      Still doesn’t explain why people who have a meagre income on the dole or from low-income employment, who are not homeless, insist on having one or more pets that they can’t afford to care for properly.

      And fine, homeless folks take in other strays (dogs, people, cats, whatever) for warmth and protection; is that really ‘taking in a pet’, or is that ‘mutually shared misery’? Because I’m fairly certain neither the dogs nor the homeless are getting proper care. Some people *choose* to be homeless; others are so because of circumstances beyond their control. And once you have ‘of no fixed address’ on your vital statistics, it’s pretty tough to find work to get yourself out of that situation. But WHATEVER. I’m talking myself in circles here.

      My point is that strays are strays, and they survive however they can, and more power to them. But there are people who buy *purebred dogs* (insert rant about breeders here) who can’t afford to pay their own bloody bills or who cannot properly feed themselves and their families.

      1. Yup and yup. Agree on that last point 100%. That oughta be considered animal cruelty.

        And dude with the rats??? That was… ummm… disconcerting to say the least. Nothing says “I love animals” like leaving them in a cage with not enough food so that they will kill each other to survive. Its a page from the Vick School of Canine Training playbook. :)

  3. I went grocery shopping once with a woman who was a single mother raising two kids and several cats while on a very meagre income. I watched as she filled the cart with bag after bag and can after can of food for the cats and then couldn’t afford proper nutrition for her children. Sometimes it isn’t the pets that get neglected. It was that day that I realized I could never have a pet unless I could afford to feed everybody – pets and humans alike.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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