Growing up with pets taught me a great deal of responsibility, but it wasn’t until I got my own dog that I realized the depth of the responsibilities that came along with a pet. My senior year my parents finally gave in and agreed to my never ending nagging to get my very own dog. As a family we always had dogs, cats, and even some 4-H pigs and goats, but this dog was going to be strictly mine, including his expenses, making sure he was exercised and eventually even taking him to school with me. I of course had to have one of the largest dog breeds there are, an English Mastiff. I still remember the night I went to adopt him, mid November and cold, but my heart could have burst from excitement. I decided on a fawn English Mastiff, who I named Zeke. At just 6 weeks old he tipped the scales at 18 pounds and grew before my eyes for the next several months. I will be the first to admit that I had no idea the amount of responsibilities caring for a dog, let alone a puppy would entail, not realizing the hard work that goes into caring for a pet is the underlining reason why so many pets are in shelters today.
Throughout the last two years I have volunteered at the Indianapolis Humane Society, which has opened my eyes to how many desperate pets are waiting for loving homes. According to Indianapolis Humane Society:
- · The Indy Humane Society takes in roughly 10 animals per day, just over 3,000 per year
- · Indy Humane can care for 250-275 animals at any given time
- · In 2011 the Indianapolis Humane Society was able to help 2,361 cats and dogs
Too many people today use shelters across the country as “dumping grounds” to get rid of their pets. I’ve heard every excuse under the sun as to why a person is surrendering their pet such as, the dog got too big, we don’t have time for him anymore, he doesn’t listen, she sheds too much and the most heartbreaking, I just don’t want him anymore. Don’t get me wrong I believe that in desperate situations the humane society is a great place to turn when someone can no longer care for their animal, but too often people just aren’t prepared and don’t want to put the time or effort into the pet.
I cannot even fathom not having Zeke to come home to every day. Even though he has cost me a fortune over the last four years and hours worth of headaches, I wouldn’t change a thing I’ve gone through. It really is true that a dog is man’s best friend. Please consider all the responsibilities that come along with a pet before getting one and adopt not shop!
Written By: Madison Mendenhall