Our store shelves are flooded with cheap imported goods built to break and impossible to repair. Because their usable life is limited it is easy not to get too attached to them. If we tire of their pattern or design we are quick to abandon them to the donation bin or trash pile. When they start to wear out or show signs of aging we get restless and start imagining replacing them with something new and more attractive. Marketers call it planned obsolesence. We consumers have come to tacitly accept it, perhaps even favor it.
What concerns me today is that we, as a society, have come to view our pets as disposable as the goods we buy.
There seems to be an increasing number of dogs and cats being relinquished to shelters, or worse abandoned and left to wander the streets. At first I chalked it up to the bad economy. People who are displaced themselves or short on funds might easily have to give up their beloved pet for financial reasons.
Yet, while the economy has undoubtably played a large role, I think something else is also behind the ease with which people are casting off their dogs and cats. We so identify ourselves as consumers of disposable goods I think we too often view our pets as just another toaster or couch - easy to part with when they break or age.
As the owner of a rescue dog myself, I follow with interest the plight of throwaway dogs of the same breed as mine. I have even written about them before. (You can read and .)
Recently two eight-year-old basset hounds named Sam and Roy caught my attention. They were cast off by their owners, but thankfully rescued by the Golden Gate Basset Rescue organization. Although both of these boys still need forever homes, at least they did not perish on the street thanks to the dedication of this determined group of volunteers. They are now in foster homes waiting for someone to adopt them.
I just have to shake my head and wonder why these two sweet dogs were abandoned? Both had health conditions that were easily cured and both still have energy, lots of life and plenty of love to share.
Sam has been in foster care for almost a year now. He is friendly with people of all ages and gets along with other dogs. He is housebroken, knows how to use a doggie door, walks wonderfully on a leash, rides beautifully in the car, sleeps all night in a dog bed, or will accept a crate. He even gets along well with dog-savvy cats. The rescue group removed from him some benign ulcerated cysts as well as a few cysts with a localized form of cancer. He has had no recurrence of them since March 2012 and his is the type of cancer that does not spread. His before and after photos accompany this article.
Roy just arrived in his foster home this month. As you can see from his before photo accompanying this article he was emaciated and had a tape worm. He is picking up weight, recovering from being neglected and is eager for a new home once he is completely well which should be soon. His foster family is assisting him in getting his housebreaking skills in order, helping him put on more weight and returning him to full health. His after videos accompany this article.
Sam and Roy are available through Golden Gate Basset Rescue, along with numerous other basset hounds they are fostering. Shelters and other rescue groups throughout the country are also overflowing with pets who need a second chance. If you have a loving home to give a dog or cat please consider rescuing one today. If you cannot own a pet yourself, consider making a contribution to a rescue group or shelter trying to find homes for them.
Maybe if we work together we can counter a culture of convenience that has too often made our companion animals just another disposable commodity.