Our Furry Friends

Family Corner back

My Dear Children,

Our Fuzzy FriendsHave you got a four legged furry friend at your home? If you do, you know how pets are always our best friends. They cheer us up when we are sad, calm us down when we are upset, play with us when we are lonely and they watch out for us. We get all this from our pets with only the small investment of some food, shelter and love.

No wonder the world is home to millions of pets. In the U.S there are up to 75 million dogs and about 85 million cats. Most people who own pets will tell you how their pets are a part of their family and they cannot imagine their lives without them.

I shop at a food store right next to a pet store and often I see excited kids walking out with a little puppy or a kitten and sometimes birds, turtles, ferrets or gerbils. They are the happiest they can be. They have been wanting a pet for the longest time, and it was perhaps a Christmas gift or their birthday wish come true.

Their smiles could make the whole world feel happy. But it makes me really sad. Why? You would wonder.

Because, the puppy they just bought will most likely end up in an animal shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. Did you know that there is a 90% chance that if a dog gets dumped in a shelter, it will never walk out?

Adopted PetsBecause, I know for fact that approximately 7 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters in this country every year, and most of them are destroyed. Most are young, healthy, and friendly.

Where do these animals come from? You guessed it. Most children or families who bought these cute little creatures from the pet stores or the breeders or got it from their family or friends end up realizing that they are not able to care for these animals after all.

They either end up leaving them at the shelters in the hope that someone else will adopt them or worse letting them go astray. Some animals even die at their owners’ homes because of the neglectful and cruel conditions they are made to live in such as starvation, freezing (by being left outdoors) or even abuse.

The shelter intakes are evenly divided between those animals brought by owners and those picked up by animal control.

Some people have valid reasons to bring their pets to the shelters, they are too old or sick to take care of their pets, but most reasons for abandonment are ridiculous. These are some statements made as reasons for bringing the pets to animal shelters.

  • “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).”
  • “The dog got bigger than we thought it would and we feel it is unsafe for our children”.
  • “We don’t have time for her”.
  • “She’s tearing up our yard”.
  • “We know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”.

Besides abandonment at shelters, there are other reasons millions of innocent kittens and puppies are put to sleep each year: over-breeding and high birth rates. More than 50,000 kittens and puppies are born each day in the U.S. alone, either to the adult pets at their owners’ homes or to breeders; this is way more than the number that can be placed in loving homes. The only kind word or gentle touch many of them ever receive is from the technician who must end their lives because there simply aren’t enough homes – or even cages – for them all.

Does that not break your heart?

Kitten in shelterSo what will you do about this issue to make this world a better place for the lovely, loyal and likeable friends of ours?

Here are some simple ideas to think about.

  1. Assess your capabilities and stick to your commitment – if you can’t commit to taking a dog out for a walk many times a day, consider a cat. But first, offer to care for a neighbor’s dog or cat for several months before you get your own. Do your research. Once you bring pets home, they become your family members. You cannot let them down regardless of what situation develops.
  2. Adopt from a shelter – If and when you are ready, do not buy from a breeder or a pet store. As long as consumers continue to treat animals as things that can be bought from stores and dropped off at shelters, the big business of making money at the cost of lives of our little friends will continue. Only you can put a stop to this cruel trade by never ever buying animals from the people who make money off of this.
  3. Spaying & Neutering is a must – As soon as you decide on bringing a pet home, make sure they are spayed or neutered so they cannot have more babies that become a part of the cruel system later on.
  4. exotic animals

  5. Volunteer your time at a shelter or humane society – See first hand what the shelter life is like for the poor abandoned animals. If you are older and can handle it, work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day where the ones that cannot be placed are put to sleep. Once you have looked into their eyes, you will always work for their cause.
  6. Never ever buy exotic animals – Especially the ones imported from other countries. There is even a more cruel poaching business that captures rare animals for their beautiful looks. Many of them get killed in traps or during the transportation to an unnatural life of imprisonment. Many are released in the wild by the owners who cannot take care of them. These poor animals and birds cannot survive in a non-natural habitat and sometimes they are a threat to the local flora and fauna. They simply are not meant to be pets but to live in the wild.

So children, do treat these four legged furry friends with the special care and love they give us back. Love the ones you have and help the ones in the shelters by volunteering and helping find them loving homes.
I was really happy to read so many beautiful things Gurbani has to say about being kind to all creation including animals, but I was really amazed to read that Gurbani recognizes the fact that most animals live their lives worthier than most human beings. They take only what they absolutely need from the environment and even in their death give back to the nature in the form of leather, fur and food. Don’t you think they deserve more compassion from us then?

Guru Ji Says - Bhagat Kabeer

I hope you will spread the word about pet-consciousness to your family and friends and put a stop to the cruel industry which treats the much deserving creatures as disposable things.

Gurmeet Aunty

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