vandertyson posted an update 5 years, 10 months ago
Question for animal lovers. How do you tell someone you know that they should not get a dog in a way that does not sound offensive? I’ve tried and failed with one friend (and she got a puppy and then got rid of him after struggling for a year). Now another friend who has 4 children, 2 of them pretty small, and a very small budget, is talking about getting a Yorkie (and they are NOT good for small children or small budgets). She seems to think of pets as property and has the attitude that if it doesn’t work out, oh well, she can just get rid of it. It makes me really angry.
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Wow – that’s a great question. Maybe one of our members who is a rescuer has some ideas. @sandra? @cmckeag? @braam? What have you done when someone wanted to adopt a cat but really shouldn’t own a pet?
I usually start by trying to stress the long-term commitment one is supposed to be making by adopting a pet; I ask questions like “Are you ready to make a 15- or 20-year commitment right now? Because that’s how long a dog or cat can live, and when you adopt an animal, you are signing up to care for it for the rest of its life.” I might also ask straight out if they are sure they don’t mind all the extra expense for the food and shots and other things that are part of regular life with a new pet. I might also stress safety issues in a situation like that, i.e. “What if little Bobby was to accidentally step on the Yorkie? He is so happy and rambunctious and too young to really understand that he could hurt the doggie if he is not careful around it. That could end really badly for the doggie, as well as scar Bobby for life.”
There is a difference, though, in my mind, between someone who maybe wants a pet but shouldn’t adopt a pet *right now*, or maybe shouldn’t adopt a particular kind of pet in their current situation (i.e., large dog in a small apartment), and a person like your friend who wants the Yorkie – a person who not only shouldn’t adopt a Yorkie due to her present circumstances, but who should not ever adopt a pet, since she regards pets as disposable pieces of property. For people who should maybe just hold off for the moment on getting a pet, I really do try to be considerate and empathetic, and muster as much tact as possible when bringing up the issue. But In all honesty, I don’t generally stay friends with people who truly regard pets as disposable pieces of property. With people who figure they can just ‘get rid’ of an animal if it doesn’t work out the way they like or if there are vet bills they could afford to pay but don’t feel like paying, I don’t make much, if any, effort to be tactful – I just tell them straight out that pets deserve love and compassion for their entire lives, not just when they’re cute and convenient, and that I don’t think people who think of pets as disposable should ever own one.
As a high energy rescue dog, my “forever” home means everything to me. I like consistency and routine. I’m a well-behaved dog in terms of not chewing on things, no excessive barking, not running away, etc. Why? Because my owner walks me every morning, rain or shine, and arranges for a pet sitter when she travels. I was a adopted in 2007 and plan to live at least another 10 years. Now I have to go bark at a cat.