Are Pets Family?

A pet is defined as a domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship or pleasure. Pets can include anything from hamsters to horses and everything in between. But are they family?

Animals are still considered property, but there are laws in place for them. You cannot treat an animal the same way you’d treat a chair. You cannot ignore it. You have to take care of an animal. You cannot abuse it even if it’s your animal. Just like you cannot abuse a child even if it’s your child. So, in some instances an animal isn’t really property at all, but a living breathing entity.

You wouldn’t leave your child behind in a move. You wouldn’t find a new home for your child when you switch homes… so why do this to your pet? When your child has a health problem that’s curable, would you euthanize him/her? No, of course you wouldn’t. You can’t. But pets are disposable to some people. I’ve never figured this out.

In my 52 years of living, I’ve never once been without a pet of some sort. When I was a child, my family had cats – granted, one cat at a time. Then we got a dog – her name was Polly, she was a TRI Collie. Beautiful. Sweet. I went through the hamster stage and my first job was working at a boarding kennel. I loved it! I made my career out of helping animals – working as a veterinary technician (animal nurse.)

I’ve had so many pets and different types of pets: hamsters (as mentioned above,) mice, rats, lizards, a snake, tarantulas, chickens, a rabbit, a guinea pig, a ferret, birds, cats, and dogs. I did have to find a home for a few of them so I know how difficult that is on the heart – they all got fantastic homes! I’ll post another blog about the interesting pets I’ve had and which ones I had to rehome and why.

I consider all of my pets as family, especially my cats and dogs. At one time I had six cats and five dogs. I’ve had six cats and three dogs for a long time, and this I could handle. Then I added another little dog who needed a home and then one more big dog for my other big dog — way too much. But it was definitely the happiest time in my life – surrounded by this pet family of mine.

I now have two little dogs and one cat. Halo, my Pomeranian is the last dog of another pack of three dogs that I had and Aby is the last cat of six that I originally had. Roscoe is the newest – being almost two years now that I’ve had him. They are my family. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.

I know that many pets are often found new homes when their families move and cannot take the pets with them. This is a real struggle. But it doesn’t have to be. If people started taking a stand and said they wouldn’t leave their pets behind, or started lobbying for pet-friendly housing – I bet laws would change and for the better. I refuse to leave my pets behind.

But maybe what my pets are to me is different that what pets are to other people. My pets are not just my family, they are my lifesavers. They are the reason I get up every morning. They are the reason I live. I cannot imagine my life without them. Now, if I didn’t have these particular pets in my life – would I be able to live? I’m sure I would be able to survive without an animal, but would I be happy? I don’t think so.

I have thought about giving these three up so I could move into my Dad’s house and not be homeless. I thought about it back in late 2019 – it was a struggle just to make the poster and then to post it on Facebook. I was crying. I was so sad. I was depressed. I prayed to God and asked Him what I should do. If He helped me find a home for all four of my pets (that’s how many I had,) then I’d know that He would want me to move in with my Dad and brother. But many people only wanted one of my pets – my youngest dog, Roscoe. So, I removed the poster, elated that I didn’t have to get rid of them and am now homeless with my three pets. (My eldest cat, Miss Blur, was euthanized due to incurable liver cancer.)

People Say Pets Are Family and then…

They move and get rid of their pets when it’s too difficult to find housing with said pets. Granted, not all people do this, but some do. So did they lie when they said their pets were family members? Or do they just use their pets when it’s convenient for them?

There are a lot of pets that end up in the shelter. If these pets were actual family members – why are they in the shelter?

A person should NEVER get an animal unless they vow to keep that animal until s/he has passed on. It’s about a 10-20 year commitment for a cat or dog, 2-4 year commitment for a rat – choose your pet carefully. If a person cannot commit that much time to owning a cat or dog, then don’t get one. Dogs take more work than cats, for sure. You have to train them, bathe them, socialize them, play with them, exercise them. Cats are a lot less work – you need to clean their litter pan, play with them, pet them, but you don’t need to walk them or train them, no need to bathe them, but a brushing every week wouldn’t hurt them unless they’re the hairless variety.

People need to take responsibility and stop abandoning animals, stop abandoning their pets.

Do you have pets?

Do you consider them family? Why or why not?

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