One of the few topics of agreement between liberals and conservatives I’ve found is pets, particularly the problems caused by over population. The cool thing is that when the topic of whether Obama should be impeached or not comes up, and your liberal friend’s head is about to explode, just send him a picture of a cute dog needing rescue. Immediately all will be forgotten and instead of pistols-at-dawn (or since we’re talking leftists who support gun control, re-education camps or at the very least, IRS audits) you’ll be sharing animal rescue stories and plotting how to change attitudes towards spay and neuter programs.
Look we all know Obama is the worst president in history, but whomever takes his place will likely not be able to solve the problem of pet overpopulation. To do this requires not just changing the attitudes of those who believe it’s “unnatural” to spay or neuter a dog or keep their cat inside, it requires changing our attitudes as well.
I used to consider myself a cat person. When I was five I ended up with a tiny little kitten, the runt of the litter who wouldn’t be nursed by her mother. So my mother gave me a doll bottle with kitten formula and I nursed the kitten myself. The kitten became my first best friend. I wrote songs and poetry to her while a child and she repaid me with her company for 17 years. There have been other cats since her passing, but none like her, and because of my experience with her I shunned dogs for the most part until my son came into the picture. We ended up adopting a Bichon, and it rekindled my interest in dogs.
I realized something: I wasn’t a cat person at all. I was an animal person. I found the love I had for animals wasn’t limited to a specific species or breed, it transcended such divisions. As I grew older I met others who felt the same. Some had lived with a special dog that changed theirs lives. I’ve even met people who had a special rabbit and parakeet. There are no dog or cat people at all. There are just animal people.
And it makes sense. We are after all animals. We are products of Nature and have evolved and developed as a species alongside other animals. We have influenced their evolution and they ours. Dogs. Cats. Horses. Cows. The history of all domesticated animals are intertwined with ours as a species, and so it should not come as a surprise that today in the modern era there are people like us who still treasure the company and care of animals.
But not everyone agrees. I’ve lived in places where animals were viewed no differently from inanimate objects – property to be used and discarded at will.
One way those of us who chant the mantra of “spay and neuter” can further help the pet overpopulation problem is by adopting more animals. If you have one dog, add another from a shelter. If you have two dogs consider adding a cat – preferably two – to your home. Most domestic animals prefer the company of others of their kind, and that is true with all the animals I’ve handled whether tropical fish, cats or horses.
You don’t have to go crazy. I don’t want anyone appearing on Animal Cops. Adopting animals is easy; caring for them on a day-to-day basis is another. I’m running two litter boxes for 8 cats and have to scoop them daily. If I don’t disaster strikes, and honestly it is a chore along with all the other animal chores I have for caring for 8 dogs, 13 chickens and 45 gallons of tropical fish that make daily life a challenge. The idea is to save as many animals as you can properly care for, and that requires having the means to pay vet bills ($4,000 one year not too long ago), the time to exercise your dogs and lavish attention on each and every one of your pets.
Making room in our hearts and homes while proselytizing about the importance of spay and neuter programs, the immorality of breeding for profit, and donating time and money to your favorite rescue group or animal shelter will speed the arrival of a time where every animal is wanted and has a forever home as each deserves.