Not So Mad or Impossible

It’s been four days since I made the post all about Amy Pond. And, since she’s growing so quickly, I thought I should do some updates. She is, of course, getting bigger. She had her second set of puppy booster shots last week, as well as her first rabies shot. (Alabama requires it when a puppy turns three months old.) We got a postcard from the vet yesterday about getting her first set of adult booster shots in a couple of weeks.

We took her yesterday to get another round of worming treatment, but we were a week early. Despite having the four treatments that they gave her at the shelter, she still had tapeworms when we got her, so she’s already had one dose of the treatment for those at our vet. She’s gaining weight and there haven’t been anymore worms coming through, so I think it’s working. I dread next week when she gets the second dose because that first dose she had made her so sick.

I’m surprised every day at how much energy exists in such a little dog. It seems sometimes like she has more energy than a roomful of preschoolers that have just been on a sugar and caffeine binge.

There was a comment on the entry about her that raised some important questions and possibly misconceptions about the situation:

I’m sorry, didn’t you JUST lose custody of your dogs because you were unfit to own them? Do you really think it’s fair to a helpless animal to take her on when you guys can’t even take care of yourselves? What’s going to happen if she gets sick and you’re faced with a giant vet bill you obviously cannot cover? I understand the desire to have a pet, but she deserves to be with people who have the financial and physical capacity to take care of her.

I think I made a thorough reply to the person in the comment section of that post, but I thought I’d address something that I’ve seen other people say to other lower-income folks when they get pets. Being poor doesn’t mean a person or a family is unfit to take care of an animal. In many places, there are organizations that will help poor people with care for their animals. Here in Huntsville, you can go to the Humane Society and get pet food. Since we can afford pet food, we don’t go there for help.

Pets can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a luxury. And it doesn’t mean that people who don’t have money shouldn’t have pets. There are organizations (i.e. The Humane Society of the United States) that have lists and ideas about how poor people can afford anything from food to shots to major surgeries for their animals. There are even groups that help the homeless with their pets. I’m posting the links because I know that there are other people out there, people like me, who don’t have money, but who love their animals and sometimes may need assistance of one kind of another.

Since Amy came along, the stress level in this house has gone down. My mom’s health actually seems to be improving in some ways–her blood pressure and blood sugar have lowered some. We all seem to be a bit less depressed. My pulse has slowed down some, which is a good thing. And we’re going out a bit more now, instead of being stuck inside all the time bickering with one another. She’s given us a purpose–something we needed.

My response to this comment may sound selfish, but I don’t think it is. We all know that we would do anything for her. We would get her any kind of help that we could. And we know now not to overwhelm ourselves with so many pets and to ask for help when we need it. Yes, we’re afraid sometimes that what happened last year will happen again, but then we remind ourselves that we are capable of change and of being better, of doing better. I have no doubt that we will provide a wonderful home for Amy. And I would appreciate anyone who has a negative view of the situation to please just keep it to yourself.

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

4 thoughts on “Not So Mad or Impossible”

  1. Pet ownership is not a right, it’s a privilege. A pet is not a toy, and unless it’s a service animal, it’s certainly not meant to solve the owner’s life problems. The owner is responsible for the animal’s well-being, not the other way around, so your point concerning the positive effect she’s had on your family is moot. In your response to my previous comment, you mentioned that “we lost custody of the dogs last year because our house was unfit to be lived in and we couldn’t pay the thousands of dollars in fines that they were going to charge because they had to stay in the shelter while we lived at my grandmother’s house. It wasn’t because we were unfit.” – you’re clearly missing the point and/or not learning the lessons you should be learning from that experience. If you are unable to maintain your home in a state that is considered fit for habitation, you are unfit to own pets. It’s not about the house, it’s about you. The house didn’t get to that state on its own. I realize that I sound very callous, but this is a live animal we’re talking about here, and your track record indicates that you were unable to maintain custody of your pets when the going got tough. I understand your desire to make it out to be everyone else’s fault, but the bottom line is that when you take on a pet, it becomes your obligation to look out for its best interest. It is not the Humane Society’s (nor the vet’s) obligation to provide you with a safety net for the care of an animal you took on willingly – I can understand how such programs could help people who ended up inheriting someone’s pets, for instance, but this was a conscious decision on your part to take this obligation on mere months after other animals were forcibly removed from your care. Pets ARE a luxury (and you got a purebred, too, fantastically enough), and they shouldn’t be owned by people who will have to rely on payment plans and food aid should the tiniest crack occur in their current financial situation. They deserve stability.

    You blog constantly about the difficulties your family goes through, difficulties which are clearly neither temporary nor easily resolved. Forget about yourself and how she makes *you* feel for a second – is it really fair to put an animal that will get attached to you in a situation where, at any given moment, these difficulties could spill over again and you could end up having her forcibly removed? You’ll say that anyone could end up in that situation – yes, anyone theoretically could, but for you, it’s not a hypothetical scenario, it’s happened before.

    Having a pet isn’t about buying toys for it at Petsmart – it’s about taking on a multi-year obligation to do everything in your power to live up to the trust the animal has placed in you. The reason we have so many animals in shelters is that people seem to forget this all too easily. It’s not fair to the animals because they’ve done nothing wrong.

    1. I don’t know you. I’ve never seen a comment from you on my blog before today and I would appreciate if I didn’t see another one from you. In fact, please don’t come back to my site. I could sit here and explain how things are changed, but let’s face it, nothing I say will change the way that you feel. And nothing that you say will change the way I feel, so please just go away.

  2. P.S. The Humane Society link you posted contains text that begins with the following words: “you’ve always managed to give your pet the medical care she deserves, but due to unexpected circumstances, you’re faced with vet expenses that are far beyond your ability to afford them.”

    1. “You’ve always managed” – you haven’t.
    2. “unexpected circumstances” – they’re not “unexpected” if you willingly go out and get a dog. It didn’t magically fall in your lap – you actively sought this animal out.

    The first link was just a bunch of nonsense. “But I have to wonder about people who simply don’t have the resources to care for a pet in the best possible manner. Shouldn’t they be able to experience the joy, love and companionship that a pet provides?” – NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. If you cannot care for a pet *in the best possible manner*, you should not have a pet, end of discussion. I cannot stress this enough – it is NOT a right, it’s a privilege, and when you are entrusted with the care of an animal, that is a sacred obligation that you must fulfill. If you cannot take that on, you should not own an animal. Sure, everyone *wants* to experience the joy love yadda yadda, but what people want does not dictate what they should be able to get. If you want something of that kind, you have to work for it. I’m sure everyone wants to experience the joy and companionship of marriage, but that also requires some work – surely you wouldn’t advocate tying people down and forcing them to marry against their will just so someone else can experience “joy” and “companionship”? So why is it okay to force a helpless animal into potentially dangerous and definitely unstable circumstances?

    1. Like I said, go away. Your comments are only meant to upset me and they’re working, so you’ve achieved your goal. Go away.

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