The day after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday”, the busiest shopping day of the year. The day after Christmas is the busiest day of the shopping year for “returns.” And like many households all over, the day after New Year’s Day holds an annual ritual as well, disposing of Christmas.
What takes an average of five to six hours just to decorate, tear down of the Christmas tree including from tree stand to curb, can usually done in less than an hour, unless you have Clark Griswald’s decorating ability. Under normal circumstances, the ornaments get stored until the next yule season, and the tree itself simply gets tossed for trash (hopefully recycled), without a second thought.
But there is something else that happens way too much on January 2nd every year. If you recall about seven days ago, it was Christmas Day. And a very popular gift given every year for the biggest gift giving day of the year, is a pet.
There is no doubt, next to an Xbox 360 for a child, or a beautiful diamond ring for someone special, or even a car, a fur friend is one of the most cherished gifts that can be given. But puppies and kittens are not gifts, they are living and breathing creatures, with feelings and a loyalty stronger than human beings are even capable of committing. But unlike our human babies as they grow, and get independent, our fur friends rely on us. And just like children, infant animals can be trying and mischievous as well. And just like a parent is committed to their child for life, when you purchase or adopt an animal for any reason, it is for life. Lifespans for most animals are 80% shorter than a human, but that does not take away the responsibility of the commitment.
Animals are not novelties, something you can just get rid of or ignore, just because they may not be all the hype you thought them to be. When I bought my second house, I was convinced that I needed a swimming pool. Within a year, I was tired of the daily maintenance, the opening and closing processes, and I rarely got to use the pool after working nearly seven days a week to be able to afford the house with the nice swimming pool. The novelty wore off. But no one was hurt by me losing my love for what I thought would be the best thing in the world to have.
On January 2nd, everyone who received an pet for Christmas now is beginning to ease back into their daily habits, with work and school to resume on Monday for most. But now instead of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, where you can work around the new arrival’s presence, it will not be so come Monday. Most will have to accommodate for the young pet’s needs with a new schedule. As you get ready for work, puppies and kittens need to be fed, and puppies especially will need exercise. Kittens will be easy for caring with a litter box, but puppies will need to be trained to go outside. Puppies cannot last an 8 or 10 hour day until you get home. And while you may be understanding with the accidents on the carpet at first, your patience will wear thin.
Then of course, there is the attention that your little fur friend will want. And with all the stress of returning to every day life, you now have to make time for someone else.
This unfortunately is where too many fail. I have had everyone of my pets, 3 dogs, 8 cats, 2 gerbils, a rabbit, 2 guinea pigs, and two frogs, their entire lifespans. And as much love as I had for my last fur friend, Pollo, given my current situation in my home and marriage, I knew the smart thing was not to take on someone new.
I was not done grieving for my friend, and I am still not. But I have little time right now, much to my daughters disappointment, to adopt anyone new. It is not going to be out of the question that perhaps at a later time, I might consider it. But were I to adopt someone now, I am afraid that it would end like so many others will end beginning today, abandonment.
Thousands of “gifts” will be dropped off at animals shelters over the next few weeks, simply because it was much more than was expected. Experienced pet owners already know the grind involved with caring for a pet, such as daily husbandry and attention, but also how to deal with the “inconvenience” of what to do with a pet and a social and recreational calendar.
It is 100% wrong, to give up on something unable to care for itself, such as a fur friend. Dropping a pet off at a shelter in most cases, may result in adoption to someone else, but for those who are not as fortunate, they are killed. If you must abandon your pet, choose a humane society which is “no kill.”
But better yet, a suggestion that I have for you, reach out for help, ideas, other solutions. There are many who will watch your pet if you must travel overnight or feed your fur friends, or meet any other need you may have now just realized. But abandonment is not one of those options.
Please, you made a commitment to a living, dependent fur friend, who wants nothing more than to be loyal to you, cheer you up on your bad days, and no matter how long you might be away from each other, will always be happy when you return home.