Empire of M

Take responsibility for your pets

Every night a little short-haired black and white cat named Bellatrix curls up under her owner's blankets and sleeps the night away.

Isn't that cute!

Then, in the morning she likes to scratch endlessly at a poster on the wall and opens the bedroom curtains. She also likes to open cabinet doors and chew at cat treat bags until she gets to the prize inside. She has gone through at least five collars and tags, is not real fond of being picked up or pet (during daylight hours, anyway) and can perform some amazing acrobatic tricks in her attempts to get outside through a rapidly closing door.

Still cute?

Okay, so pets can be real pains. They cost you money, shed, bite or scratch, eat icky things and can, generally, cause problems.

But if you're not willing to accept this fact and love them anyway - if you don't know that pets are hard to take care of and will never be perfect, then please, DON'T GET A PET!

Several years ago it was all the rage to get little pocket sized dogs, but people soon realized these animals require a lot of work and attention. From grooming to feeding and health care, a lot goes into accepting a little dog into your life. Unfortunately, when owners realized this about these dogs, there was a dramatic population increase at the shelters.

What a miserable place to end up when your owner decides you're too much work, or no longer en vogue. If their owners had thought logically about owning a little dog before they bought one, a lot of pain could have been avoided.

Don't get me wrong, animal shelters are wonderful. In fact, I strongly encourage people who want a pet to turn here first. Rescuing an animal from a shelter and possibly saving him from euthanasia is often more rewarding and less costly than seeking out a breeder. Purebred animals are nice for show, but for a family pet, mutts work just fine. In fact, the best pets my family ever had came from shelters.

It's also possible to rescue animals in your own neighborhood. I can't tell you how many times one person in particular in my old neighborhood would get a new pet and ignore it - that means they failed to get it sterilized, get its shots or even to feed it. Eventually, these animals adopted us, much to the relief of their previous owners, apparently, because they rarely came around to reclaim them.

Finally, please report animal abuse. There are actually a lot of rotten people in this world and, as I said before, these animals deserve something, or at least someone, better in their lives.

Animals are virtually defenseless when it comes to cruel owners, and there are already enough animals being put down at shelters each year (approximately four million).

These are domesticated animals, not wild beasts. They need and rely on good, kind owners to provide loving homes. It is our responsibility to help those we can.

If you get a pet, be ready for it. Adopt one who is in danger of being euthanized or accept a stray into the household. Get them checked over by vets. Get their vaccinations.

Get them sterilized!!!

But most of all, give them love. They'll return it.


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