The Big Decision

 

People often ask me how I can resist bringing home all the adorable dogs cats, kittens and puppies I am surrounded by every day. I respond with my practiced answer, “I know that each and every one of them will get a loving, forever home because of the work we do at Bideawee”.

I have successfully resisted bringing any more pets into my family since the summer of 2010 when I adopted Hairy and Maximus, two kittens I fell in love with during my first six months at Bideawee. It’s been a nine year stretch of no more pets! But it hasn’t been easy.

I am tempted frequently. Probably weekly. And I’m often guilty of sending photos home to my husband thinking he’ll give in or the kids will say, “Yes! We want another!” But in my heart, I know that we haven’t been ready. The kids would balk and say, “No more, Mom!” My husband would say, “How, cute but no.” And I would know they were right. I’m out of the house working at Bideawee the majority of our waking hours and a good deal of the work caring for our pets has always fallen to my husband. Having had 4 children grow up in our house along with the 3 cats and 2 dogs – that’s a lot of legs! – we always felt pretty complete. Bringing yet another animal into our family is a major commitment and a decision that would affect everyone in our home. So, despite all the furry temptation, I have always known that it would not be responsible or fair to our pets (or two-legged children) to take on more than we could handle.

I know how much work goes into successfully caring for a pet. Whether you adopt a dog, a cat, a kitten, or a puppy, you must be prepared for the responsibility, the expense, the joy, the worry, the inconvenience of walks in the cold, in rain, in the early hours. You must consider your furniture and floors – something WILL get peed and/or puked on - and of course, you must consider hiring a professional or learning everything you can about proper training. It’s a long-term commitment and you need to be ready to care for that pet through changes in your life over 15-20 years. And we all know, a lot can change in that time.

Now that my children are grown and the youngest is away at college for most of the year, I’m starting to think again about whether or not we might soon be ready for a new four-legged family member. No more puppies or kittens. I only want to rescue/adopt/foster older dogs and/or cats from now on. But even with more than 10 years working in animal welfare and access to all the advice and support I could ever need, I have so much to consider.

First of all, my oldest dog Winnie is 16 and is showing her age more and more every week. How would she react to a new dog? Jack, my 12-year-old toothless guy who thinks he is in charge of everyone doesn’t react favorably to other animals except those he already knows. And, then there is the added responsibility of another pet when I’m at a time in my life where I need to spend more hours at work and want the freedom to travel in my free time. There is much to consider when I see all the cuties who need rescuing. Every time I get that pang and send a photo to my husband, I think to myself, “Am I really ready? Do we have enough to give to another? Is this right for our family?” I certainly know I have enough love to go around, but would I be the best parent to that dog or cat I desperately want to bring home?

I think the answer is no - for now. I’ll keep you posted though and let you know if the special someone comes along that changes my mind. In the meantime, I’ll continue to make sure that all of the animals that come through the doors of Bideawee get the best care possible until we match them with their loving, forever homes. And remember, adopt responsibly. You aren’t just bringing home a new pet, you are bringing home a new family member.

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