I just adopted a dog from my local animal shelter. He’s ten, almost eleven, so not a young dog, an older dog, a dog that lived with a family for all those years only to be taken to the pound because the family dynamics changed. I could go into details how those dynamics changed, but it doesn’t matter, the bottom line is, it became inconvenient to have the dog- he wasn’t causing anyone any harm, there was no danger or threat of danger, he simply became a bother, an inconvenience and difficult to manage, in their minds.
They asked around, tried to place him, but no one wanted him, and no one could understand why they were giving up their ten, almost eleven-year-old dog. I was asked if I wanted him and I said no, I already had five dogs and a husband who probably didn’t want any more, but I had no idea he would end up in the pound. Had I known he would end up in the pound, I would have taken him in a heartbeat.
He did end up in the pound. His people took him there and left him. I have to wonder what went through his mind when his people walked away and he was put in a cage with a kennel full of dogs barking their distress, their anxiety and frustration at being caged around him. He’d never been in a shelter, he’d lived his life with a family, he’d learned to go potty outside, not chew on shoes, to sit and stay and sleep on his bed and be a good dog. He was used to being told he was a good dog, he loved nothing more than a walk on a leash, so he had to wonder at being in such a strange, loud place. He had to wonder when his people would come get him and bring him home. I’m sure in his mind his people were coming back, after all he was their dog, and he loved them and they loved him, so of course they would come back.
Because of the weekend and the holiday he spent almost four days in the shelter and when I went to get him he was lying on the cement floor whining, a low, soft, plaintive whine that brought tears to my eyes and anger to my soul. His former owners are Christians, devout Christians that love Jesus and praise him daily, and the hypocrisy of their love of God and their dismissal of an animal that loved them is something I don’t understand. Maybe the Bible doesn’t talk about animals and what we owe our pets- because we do owe them, we owe them responsibility and love, and an animal shouldn’t be discarded because it becomes inconvenient.
If there is a God, I think He would want us to treat our pets with respect and love and not as property, but as loving, giving beings that depend on us and need us. Pets shouldn’t be dismissed, abandoned, or treated as disposable items. Our pets should be family, and we should treat them with love and respect. There is nothing loving or respectful about dumping a ten-year-old dog at the shelter and walking away, never looking back. It is a very un-God-like thing to do.
As for the dog, he’s happy now, in his new forever home.