More often lately I have been hearing of people getting rid of animals because they "don't work out". Well, this is just a short post on my views of animals and our responsibility towards them. My belief is that we are responsible and accountable for the animals we choose to live among us. Once domesticated and acquired, it is our job to provide for them. As the quote from in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince reads, "You are forever responsible for what you tame". And as the Bible proclaims we have dominion over nature, this dominion implies responsibility, not abuse or neglect. I think too often people have good intentions but their desire for pleasure or reward exceeds their desire to work for a good relationship with the animals they chose. You see that a lot in human relationships also as you glance at divorce statistics and at the ease of slipping out of commitment as easily as one slipped in. With freedom comes responsibility.
Of course there are times when we give it our all and the animal just doesn't fit in with our family or lifestyle. I understand that. And, when someone has given an honest attempt, sometimes the best thing to do is to find it a better home where there will be a better environment. But, more often than not, I think it's when animals are acquired, quickly tired of and then passed on to someone else. Whether it's a dog, goat, horse, sheep, pig, chickens or what-have-you, I think it's important to research the animal you are wanting to acquire. Do you have a suitable environment for it? Do you have the proper housing/fencing for it without constricting it to an unnatural amount of space causing difficult or aggressive behaviors and temperament? Do you have the necessary skills to work with the particular animal, or a mentor who can assist you? Can you afford vet bills should it become sick? Do you have enough time to dedicate to the animal? Is it a herd/pack animal or will it do well alone? Do you have enough knowledge and understanding of the animal's behaviors? If a dog, what breed are you looking to get and what is their personality like and do you have the skills to train?
I see the biggest mistakes occur with dogs. People often choose a dog for its looks and don't research the breed. I'll never forget the miniature Collie kept in the condo above me several years ago as the owner worked all day and the dog ran and ran and barked and the man would come home and yell at the dog cause it wasn't a "good dog". Um, excuse me, but you are confining a herding dog to a condo, alone with little exercise? Or, when people live rurally and get a flock guarding or herding dog but forget that just because it's instinctual for that breed, the dog still requires a tremendous amount of training do do what it was bred for.
In the end, the animals lose. They get passed on, or neglected or ignored, or yelled at or hit and sometimes even worse. The people reading this are most likely not the people I'm talking about. And, I'm not being critical or holier than thou. Just concerned for the animals and the prevalence at which I've been seeing this lately. Often times it's done with a combination of ignorance and good intentions. So, if you know folks getting ready to get a new animal they have never had, maybe talk with them a bit. I guess this is my rant and my attempt to talk a bit about something that bothers me. It's up to us to look out for the critters. They are dependent upon us - whether they are pets, for work or for food - we still have an obligation to provide them with safety and a good environment and interaction (either with us or other animals).