Pet ownership is more than a responsibility. Owning and caring for another animal is a humanistic purpose. Since the dawn of man, humans have lived alongside and in congruence with all sorts of creatures from warm blood to cold blood. Animals never seem to disappoint when it comes to interest and intrigue to the complexities of the animal itself as well as the adaptive process according to each specific ecosystem.
It was the great Friedrich Nietzsche who said that modern man would have more love for their pets than fellow man. This complex relationship to empathy and value is almost comical at the least and worrisome at its worse. In some ways, I believe that we are connected to nature in ways that only God can conceive. In other ways, it seems as if man continues to drift further and further away from one another. Many great writers, especially American writers, talk about the push back into nature away from society. I feel that the balance between the chaos in nature and the order in society gives room for domesticated animals to nuzzle their way into our hearts and minds. Regardless of the reasons of how and why we can love these creatures so much, we do love them. And love can mean many different things and come across many different ways.
When this article was started, we were giving away one of our dogs to an owner that could give him a better life. My wife, Susan, is a practice manager at a vet clinic. Over a year ago, she had a litter of puppies born with a bacteria that killed off half of the litter. One of the brothers actually died at our house in her arms while trying to ween it back to life. At this point, she was crushed so when she told me she wanted to keep the sibling, later named Cyrus, that if he made it, I literally couldn’t say no to taking him in. Now puppies are hard to deal with in general, let alone a 1/2 husky and 1/2 German Sheppard puppy. Needless to say, it has taken me a couple of weeks to write this article because my heart still sinks thinking about it even though I continue to land on the moral high ground.
We took him in from the rescue that originally brought him to the vet clinic. He flourished alongside our other 2 dogs aside from tearing up hundreds of dollars worth of things. My son absolutely adored Cyrus but often neglected him. Cyrus spent much of his time either outside in our fenced in yard or in his kennel since he was chew up furniture, eat anything he could reach, as he would frequently yelp out for attention. With our newborn on the way, stress has been heightened and sleep has been minimal. Cyrus would yelp all night long in his kennel and also while outside and this is something that is not conducive to a baby needing sleep. We decided that keeping Cyrus was not worth the stress and noise he made. We decided to start looking for a home that Cyrus could spread his wings and get the attention he deserved.
Although giving him away was by far one of the toughest decisions we have made as a couple (1st world problems, I know), we both get frequent reminders that he is in a better place. We came across a young couple who went on runs and could put all their attention into loving him. My wife and I have always been critical of people who get animals then give them away but I definitely think that if you do get an animal and you don’t keep it, it is your duty to find it a new home rather than putting it out into the wild to fend for itself or dropping it off at the Humane society. We gave Cyrus a home and food for over a year. We leash trained him and we taught him verbal commands. We loved him but we knew he deserved a better life and we had reached a limit with our patience and energy. Our house is much happier and calm now. We get to see Cyrus on social media living out his best life. His sweet, goofy self will always have a place in our hearts.
Resentment and anger form from not being fulfilled in one way or another. In times where you feel overwhelmed, think not of what you don’t have control but rather what do you have control over. As the seasons pass, we begin to understand that some seasons are spent dependent on other and some are spent helping those dependent on us. You cannot take care of others when your heart is tainted with negativity. Look into your life and consider if you have put more on your plate than what you can eat. It is never too late to cut your losses. The best time to sell a dying stock was yesterday. Obligations are one measurement that defines our level of integrity but obligations only go as far as they make sense to maintain. All investments of someone’s time and money should be treated in such a way. Many people all over the world develop attachments to earthly obligations that ultimately lead to their entire demise. The morality is heavily dependent on the context. Some hills are worth dying on and some are not. At some point, we have to say no. If we fail to speak when the time is right, we may end up with a bigger mess than had we dealt with the original conflict.
A Pet’s Life is a life of joy and bliss. As a human, we must take care of this world and all that inhabit it. We must know where and when to draw the line of self to caring for others. We should never do aimless hard and always try to do what is most right but ultimately we are still humans, emotional, inconsistent, irrational humans. Yet, with all of the traits that make us human, love is the most powerful. Love yourself enough so you have the abundance in life to take care of others.