As we all wind down from the holiday rush and begin to assume our routine rolls of the everyday hustle we call “life” we are also rolling into a new year!
For some this means New Year’s Resolutions, like starting that new diet and exercise plan we have been saying we were going to start since September! For others it maybe be starting something completely new, like adding a new four-legged family member over the Christmas break.
There was so much excitement and joy to watch your 5 year old and 7 year old open that noisy box and see the excitement on their face when out popped little “Rover”!
You put some time and thought into getting him, but let’s face it, he was a bit of an impulse buy. You know your kids have been wanting a dog for a long time now, and adding him to the family during the Christmas break was perfect! I mean, you DID have almost 2 weeks to work with the little guy on potty training, kennel training, sitting, not chewing on inappropriate things, etc.
Now, where are we…oh yeah, LIFE… now you have another little life depending on you to ensure he grows up to be an outstanding member of canine society.
"Wait, what?! It’s just a dog!"
"He’ll be fine outside when we go to work and the kids will just play with him when they get home from school."
But, your kids have lost interest after the first few days…once they have realized “Rover’s” teeth are sharp, he’s not very fun to play with. He chews on their favorite Christmas toys. He ruined your daughter’s favorite shoes. He’s peed in your son’s room because no one can watch him constantly to help remind him he needs to potty outside…so the wonderful, “Christmas Present”, is losing his appeal.
Now, “Rover” is left to his own devices, outside. You put a dog house out there so he has shelter. You have to remind the kids to feed and water him, but they hate doing it, because he is SO LONELY, that now when they come out for the few seconds to feed and water him he jumps all over them, overzealous and so happy to see a member of his “pack” (Remember he left his mom and siblings to be with you). He’s been outside for days without any attention and he craves it!
Fast forward 6 months down the road… “Rover” is beginning to mature into an adult, but you don’t have time to take him to the vet to have him neutered. So, now, “Rover” begins to roam…searching for a female, searching for attention, searching for another “pack”.
He’s now been picked up by Animal Control for the 3rd time and next time it’s a hefty fine. At this point you have decided you’ll just surrender him, let him stay. He wasn’t turning out to be a good dog anyway. He wasn’t what the breeder said they were, “smart”, he’s actually kind of dumb. He ignores you whenever he is doing something wrong and you get onto him. So might as well just let him stay at the shelter and let him be someone else’s problem. At least he is no longer yours.
The problem is “Rover” is 6 months old. He’s a black dog and he’s at an overly crowded shelter. The chances of him being adopted are slim to none. But at least he’s in a no-kill shelter!
Fast forward 7 years down the road… “Rover” is still waiting for you to come claim him at the shelter. That precious LIFE, that precious “present” you were so overjoyed in giving to your children for Christmas hasn’t forgotten you, but he looks for you every day behind bars. He looks for you every day while he sleeps on a concrete floor. He looks for you every day when he sees another dog being adopted or reclaimed by their owner. He looks for you every day while he hears the cries and non-stop barking of the rest of the shelter. He looks for you…but you’re not coming back.
Guys, I give you this hint of a story to remind you if you were BLESSED to receive a precious gift such as “Rover” for Christmas, or any other time for that matter, remember they are for a lifetime, not just for right now! I know the newness wears off on a puppy very quickly. You can struggle with behavioral issues, etc. but don’t give up on them. You took them into your home. They deserve to be a part of your family, not just something to discard once you are done.
Step up and be an owner! Feed your dog(s) quality food. Take them to the vet, don’t research it on Google or ask for advice on Facebook! Give them quality preventative care including vaccinations, flea & tick preventative, heartworm preventative, etc. GROOM THEM!!! Yes, that’s right, they need baths, brushing, nails trimmed just like we do! If you can’t do these simple things then you don’t need to own an animal, PERIOD!
Remember, they are a gift from God that can truly continue to bless your life IF you treat them with dignity and respect!
"The Righteous care for the needs of their animals" Proverbs 12:10