If Our Pets Could Talk – February 2023

Even after all this time, I am still saddened when I hear of a person dying at lakeside, and it is discovered that no arrangements have been made by the owner as to what is to happen to their pet(s), and who is going to be taking over their  care when left behind. And more horrified that some people have left their residence and left pets behind uncared  for – ‘dumped’ is a better term, or leaving the pet in the vacated house, or by the side of the road. The poor pet is left to fend for itself, if it can. At times it is hard to keep faith in humankind when you see cruelty in various forms in the treatment of animals here at Lakeside, or elsewhere. One can only keep going forward, one day at a time, in the knowledge that there are many good people who not only show love and respect for animals but act upon these good human traits by taking action like feeding a hungry animal or rescuing an animal that has been put in harm’s way.  St Francis of Assisi was said to have said: If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow man. This is a big thank you and acknowledgement to the men and women who have taken on the task of caring for these abandoned pets, in one form or the other.

If you look up in the dictionary the word: commitment, several words immediately come up:  promise, pledge, assurance, dedication, loyalty, faithfulness, etc. Taking a cat or dog into your household to become a family member is a commitment. Wedding vows are a pledge that a person gives to their future partner. Similar statements should be not only be promised but provided by a human to their family pet when it enters this partnership and family. These assurance words traditionally include: I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. Also, a promise to love you unconditionally, to honor and respect you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. When a human partner decides they “want out” the other human partner has some ‘protection’ recourse available, sometimes in the form of a sharp attorney. With the family pet, no such ‘protection’ is available, except having trust in that human partner. Please take seriously the pledge you made by your actions of taking a family pet into your home. Make plans for your pet in the event you need to move, become incapacitated or when [ not if  ] you die.  Take care of this NOW, do not leave it to others to fix your situation, and rescue YOUR pets.

On occasion a family pet will get out of the house, which is always a scary situation. To help deal with this  possibility, here are some helpful  tips to help with their safe return:  periodically take and keep a current  picture of your pet, so posters can be made advertising ‘lost pet’ – don’t  use  a photo  when they were a kitten/puppy. Keep a collar on your pet at all times, with an ID tag which contains their name and a current phone number. It is also advantageous to have in English: “Reward”  and in Spanish: “Recompensa!” on the tag near their name, etc. If you can have a two sided ID tag made, it is suggested that you record your Vet’s name and their emergency phone number, on the second  side – this is especially important if  your animal is found injured.

Jackie Kellum

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