Responsible Pet Ownership
Would you do anything for your dog or cat? Would you keep him safe from harm? Would you want him to stay healthy? Is he with you for life?
Pet ownership is a big responsibility. It’s a choice, a decision you make to own a pet and take care of him till the day he dies. That can be a few years or 15 years. No matter how long, pets are a commitment that you make as part of your daily routine for the life of the animal. You wake up, then you walk the dog. You make a cup of coffee then you feed the cat. He’s due for his vaccines? You get him vaccinated. That can be through the vet, a rescue clinic or going to a feed store and buying them and vaccinating yourself.
Here in Rutherford County, many people opt to keep their pets outdoors. This seems to be acceptable in the south. The warmer weather allows for it. Having a fenced in area, with shelter, food and water, accessible to them is important.
With outdoor animals, comes even more responsibility. Making sure they are cool enough in the hot summers and warm enough in the dead of winter is something that needs to be considered. Making sure they get out of their pen and get enough exercise is vital.
Ticks and fleas are a huge problem here in NC. Outdoor animals tend to be the worst victims. Providing them with flea preventative and heartworm prevention is key to keeping them healthy. Diseases are also common here and can be anywhere. In the soil, a stray dog or an infected dog at the vet, all can transmit nasty viruses and infections that can be prevented with vaccinations.
Where ever you choose to house your pet, responsibility is what you need to think about. If you cannot provide these things, maybe pet ownership isn’t for you.
Financial hardships are everywhere in Rutherford County. If you do have a pet and you are struggling to afford his basic needs, help is available. There are cheap to free services available through rescues. PAWS offers low cost (or free) spay and neuter programs. CPC offers a pet food pantry where you can get free pet food. CPC, ACS and the Humane Society frequently offer low cost vaccinations.
If you are struggling, avoiding the surrendering of your pet is what rescues are trying to avoid. With an already over-crowded shelter, keeping your pet in the home is a goal for them. If you need help, reach out. Comment on a Facebook post, make a phone call or just ask around. You may just find the help you need.
Owning a pet for life is just that: for life. When life shows up, providing for them is still necessary. When your family moves, find a place that offers pets as tenants. When you have your baby, train your dog to be gentle. Know that when that puppy is no longer cute and fuzzy, but active and playful, that you need to provide for those needs too.
Senior dogs and cats may need extra care. Dental issues, diseases and injuries can happen more often. They may need help getting on that sofa or climbing the stairs. Making adjustments is necessary. Older pets can offer as much love as that cute little puppy or kitten.
Two senior dogs were recently surrendered to Animal Control services due to their age. This does not sit well with people in rescue. It could have been avoided had the owner asked for help. Senior dogs do not do well in shelters. Especially an open-door one that can euthanize animals for space. More active dogs can cause injury or death to the slower, more laid back senior dog. If they aren’t current on vaccines, disease can cause premature death.
There are some hardworking, dedicated volunteers in rescue groups that just want to help. They have a drive for helping animals. If you need help. Just ask.
Suzanne Marie, our self-proclaimed RC Crazy Cat Lady, lives with 2 little dogs and quite a few cats, all rescued. Suzanne has a BS in Psychology and an Associates in Veterinary Technology. In writing for RC Catalyst, Suzanne combines her two greatest loves, animals and writing.