For many, the idea of abandoning a companion animal is heartbreaking! In spite of this, every year in the U.S. more than 6 million dogs and cats end up in animal shelters. Many of them are there because their families abandoned them. Here are some of the lame excuses that people give for turning their backs on their own animals:
1. “I had to move.”
If you’ve found a way to take all your valuables with you, you can find a way to take your animal companion. Adopting an animal doesn’t mean adding to your possessions—it means adding a member to your family. And as the Disney character Lilo says, “Family means nobody gets left behind.”
2. “He got too big.”
Puppies, like human babies, don’t stay the same size forever. This is not surprising. All one needs to do is simply Google how big a certain breed will get. If you don’t want a big dog, stick to smaller dog breeds.
3. “She’s expensive.”
You’re right—companion animals cost money. They need food, water, shelter, and medical care just like us. That’s why it’s so important to consider this before bringing one into your life. But once you have an animal companion and expenses do come up, your animal needs to take priority over less important items, like vacations and pedicures.
4. “He’s not cute anymore.”
Excuse me? Did you adopt an animal companion only so that you could take cute Instagram pictures? Animals aren’t pieces of artwork that you acquire to make your home more aesthetically pleasing. They’re living, feeling, breathing beings who depend on us. Plus, ALL animals are cute!
5. “Caring for him takes too much time and effort.”
Caring for a companion animal DOES take time and effort. While it’s good to recognize your limitations, make sure you recognize them BEFORE you choose to adopt. An animal companion is a lifelong commitment, and it’s a give-and-take relationship. Don’t be selfish. Give your animal companions what they need.
6. “He’s too old now.”
This excuse is just MEAN. From the minute you bring them into your home, your animal companions will love you with every ounce of their being. You are their protector. How is it OK for you to give them up because they got too old? We all age. And you’re going to get old, too, one day, so think about how you’ll want to be treated. I bet it doesn’t include being abandoned.
7. “My new boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t like her.”
OK, so if your new boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t like one of your human family members, would you get rid of that person, too? Probably not. Boyfriends and girlfriends who love us care about everything that’s important to us, including our animals. Any partner who can’t accept that probably isn’t the best person to be with. And regardless, you made a promise to your animal companion—it’s your job to keep it, no matter who else comes into your life.
Adopting an animal companion is a compassionate choice that can bring much joy. It’s also an important, serious decision that warrants time and reflection. Before saying yes to a new animal companion, please make sure that you’re prepared for this great responsibility. Your animal friend will be devoted to you for life, and you should return the favor.