A couple of weeks ago, on the show, I shared parts of a story that a friend, and listener shared with me. I edited my reading on the show because it is deeply personal, and I didn’t know if I would be able to do it justice. I am posting this now, because it is that time of year were people have either received a Christmas pet or have made promises to provide on. I really hope that you get out as much as I did – it gives you a lot to think about and some reflection at the end of this blog post is probably called for. I would love more people to adopt animals, and think twice when taking any animals on. I know it has been mentioned both by me, and on the show several times. But it is because we care so deeply that we keep mentioning it. Now, I will hand over to Chad;
When Killer, our 14-year-old pug, first developed mast cell tumors, I thought I would be ready for the grim eventuality. I wasn’t a stranger to death. My brother was killed in a car accident when I was in kindergarten. I lost my grandparents before I entered high school. My wife lost both her parents during our first two years of marriage. And my father died only earlier this year. I’m also a Buddhist. You know, like a lot of people, Westerns especially I think, wanting to confront death and wanting to die well when my time comes is part of what drew me to my religion. So, I had experienced death and I had thought about dying. A lot.
I was wrong.
There’s this place where intellectual knowledge and real life crash into each other that you cannot prepare for. When the vet put him to sleep in my lap, I knew it was the right choice, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. Losing our pug was probably one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. When the vet put him to sleep in my lap, I knew it was the right choice, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. If you’ve ever had a pet, you know firsthand what they give you: dedicated companionship and lasting affection without any judgment whatsoever. They don’t care how much money you have or what you look like or how cranky your day at work has made you, they just love you. If you allow it, this creates a deep and intense bond. I think that bond is even deeper when you have your first pet as an adult. A living thing is now your responsibility in a way it never was before, no matter how much your parents tried to prepare you for responsibility. And other than your spouse or significant other, your pet is also the one you will see more than anyone else.
I think though that bond is turned up another notch if you’ve had to go through rough times. And our pug was there through rough times. He was there when we were really poor. He was there when we lived in a bad neighborhood and the night was full of sirens. He was there when I walked to work every day. He was there when my wife was alone and constantly sick on high doses of immune-suppressants to combat the disease that is robbing her of her sight. And he was there beside me at night, when I sat awake in the dim and the quiet.
When we were ready for another dog, there was never any question about adopting. And there shouldn’t be one for you. The simplest reason to adopt for anyone can be purely economic. The cost of getting a dog from a shelter or even a breed specific rescue is far less than buying a dog from a pet store or a breeder. And every bit of the money spent is going purely for the cost of the animal’s care. But for us, I think we both felt we owed Killer for the gift of his presence. The easiest way to acknowledge that, the best way to repay the debt was to adopt a rescue dog.
There are an estimated 140 million to 180 million pets in the United States. Each year, around 7.6 million animals are given over to shelters and rescues. 2.7 million animals that end up in shelters will be euthanized. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 10 million puppy mills in operation. Dogs in puppy mills are kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. And since they are bred purely for profit, there is no concern for potential health issues or serious hereditary conditions. What’s the easiest way for you to have a serious impact on all that suffering and unnecessary death? Simple. Adopt a shelter or rescue pet.
I mean, think about that. Really, really think about that.
With very little effort, you are radically altering another living being’s life forever and contributing to ending future suffering for others. Puppy mills function on profit. Remove the profit, end the suffering.
That’s immense if you acknowledge it. Seriously. Don’t dismiss it as hippy-dippy, sappy whatever. You can completely change a life. And you’ll get something out of it besides a loving companion. We’re wired for kindness. Not only has kindness been proven to be contagious but it has also been scientifically documented to improve your own happiness, your heart health, positively impact your aging process, and improve your relationships.
Thank you for reading this – for more information on the rescue centre Chad and his wife adopted from, their facebook page is below.