In another sign of tougher economic times, an increasing number of pets are winding up on the street. While many discarded pets are the result of unfeeling and brainless people, more pets are being shown the door purely out of financial distress. These aren’t unwanted pets, some are people’s best and only friends.
I try to put myself in their place, try to imagine dumping or putting down Niki The Wonder Dog due to financial strain and I just can’t; it must be a horrific and traumatic experience for both pet and owner. What would make it worse is knowing that the decision just hinged on saving a couple of bucks a day.
Aside from the emotional and humane issues of the increase of pets in these situations; there’s an environmental aspect as well. Pets such as cats and dogs have to eat and they won’t be all that fussy when it comes down to it. Cats are particularly well known for adapting to life without an owner, often turning feral very quickly and destroying native wildlife. Dogs turned loose in rural areas can go wild and also create havoc.
One of the saddest, yet most heart warming stories I came across last week was about a pet soup kitchen set up in Berlin. People on low incomes can take their pets there and get free food and some basic health services for their pet. What an absolutely fantastic idea! The soup kitchen doesn’t just cater to dogs, but to rabbits, guinea pigs and even budgerigars/
I really hope to see this concept go global and the pet industry get right behind it. These special companions are sometimes the only thing that prevent people from slipping into total and utter despair.
Just on a related point – if you’re considering getting a dog or cat soon, why not think about getting an animal from a shelter – a “recycled pet” so to speak? Aside from gaining a new companion, you’ll have the warm and fuzzy feeling of having possibly saved an animal from death.