It occurred to me today, in the middle of this latest quarantine lockdown, that it is ninety days since my nanny went to the Rainbow Bridge to see grandad and all my buddies who have departed. And it made me wonder again about my life. I know I seem to be quite cogitative recently and maybe its because of the current situation with this virus and many other things happening. The time has flown since dad took the fateful phone call in mid August. Nanny and grandad are still in our hearts and minds. Sometimes I think I can see dad looking toward the heavens when I have allegedly done something silly.
I know I am a little disparaging about Lenny but it’s good to have a little brother to run around after, play with and generally share my life. I say it often enough however I am a very lucky dog to have love, safety and security showered upon me. Walks every day come rain or shine, food twice a day, biscuits and treats on other occasions and the pick of seven beds to sleep in all add up to me feeling happy. I am happy also that Lenny has somewhere safe to call home. He deserves it.
There are way too many other furs who don’t have the singular luxury of a bed, love, food or security throughout their lives and this makes me sad. Since the global virus marched its way through almost every country on the planet, I read about dogs being sold for extraordinary amounts of money because the demand outstrips the supply. Thousands of pounds for a puppy sold over the internet, on the back of no visit to see the little fur in its “home” environment, not seeing it with mum, sometimes a lack of health certificates and no check on any breeding or bloodlines. Are we a commodity, to be sold and bought in the same way as traders sell wheat, coal or motor cars? As sentient creatures, should there not be a more respectful and measured approach to us. I know that there are some people who look after us, breeders who make sure that they see where we will go, ensure we will be looked after and keep in touch for further questions.
People are at home for far longer than they used to be and crave company to combat their lack of social mobility. What happens when, or if, the virus is controlled a little and people start to carefully return to their places of work. What is to happen to the many pets who have been purchased and who may be left alone at home, almost fending for themselves with no walks, interaction with their humans and losing the regimentation of a regular daily life? I fear that a large number will merely be surrendered to a rescue centre, or shelter whose facilities will become bursting at the seams with the influx. I hope I am wrong, I really do.
Then we turn to the dreaded “C” word. Not Covid, but Christmas! How far will “pester power” stretch this year? How many dogs will be introduced to a new home with all the noise and joviality going on around us. Sitting there bewildered by this new place, the brightly coloured surroundings and not knowing what to do, how to interact and feeling completely confused with it all. The novelty often wears off quicker than a Christmas Day dinner and we look for some guidance and interaction to make us feel wanted and loved. Maybe this year should be the time for people to do their homework before bringing us into a new home. Speak to a rescue centre, ask what would be the best dog to suit the human and canine needs and then see if there is an unwanted dog at the rescue or shelter. I was a Christmas rescue dog, my parents did their homework as far as they could, they spoke to the rescue centre, saw me three times, walked me on each occasion, asked questions and thought about me for about three weeks before I came home. I was, and remain, lucky because they persevered with me despite some difficult early months for us all. People will say “oh but the rescue centres and rehoming centres aren’t allowing visits” which is often times true at the moment. That doesn’t stop them from researching our traits, which would be the best type of dog to get and then ask more questions.
Maybe what I am saying is this. Instead of “What will happen when the novelty wears off” it should be “Don’t let us be a novelty in the first place”. We are a serious and timely commitment. We will love you, play fetch, sleep in strange places, make you smile and be your best friend. However we will also make you sad when we have accidents, fall ill, run off on a walk and need you to take us to the vet and clean up after us. This applies to puppies who have their whole life ahead of them as well as older dogs who want only to have their years of dotage in a warm comfy place with gentle ear tickles and soft cuddles.
Are people ready for that? If not, then think really carefully about our suitability.
7 thoughts on “What happens when the novelty wears off?”
*sigh* The novelty is already wearing off. My friend who lives on a country road is seeing cats and dogs just dumped. Some do not survive, the lucky ones come down the lane to my friend’s house and find food and warmth and affection. I never cease to be amazed at people’s cruelty. Joey The Cat, who lives with me, is 15 years old, a good age for a kitty. But the last few years his human got sicker and sicker, and Joey was neglected except for his basic needs. Then his human died, and the family came and threw all his possessions in the dumpster and took Joey to the shelter. He is diabetic and has secondary issues from that. He lives with me now, so is cared for and spoiled, but he still has to get two insulin shots a day, and that is no one’s idea of fun. He is learning how to be a lap cat, and learning how to play! I guess no one ever played with him before! He has a good life now, and I am glad he is here.
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Thank you, a thousand times over, for caring. I know there are many cats and dogs abandoned for little or no reason. I am at a loss to know how someone can take a pet somewhere, take it out of their car, look into the dog or cats eyes and still leave them despite the fear and confusion.
Many people in New York rescued dogs during quarantine and so far they seem to be happily homed. But my dog Dev worries about them just as you do Dexter. What will happen in six months when everyone goes back to the office or to school? Dev doesn’t want to lose his new pals.
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Thank you for your reply. I think this is the thing about rescue dogs in this situation. Firstly people are inherently kindly on the whole. Yes, there are some nasty and thoughtless people who get dogs for nefarious practices. However there seems to be a shortage of forward planning. What happens when the owners situation changes, will they be able to take the dog to work, on the tube (subway), on the bus, into the coffee store and will they still have time to take us for a walk before starting work. The potential problems only seem to increase when, most likely, we are left at home alone and have no idea why we are being “abandoned” or when our new buddy will come back. We can become destructive or noisy and then things start to turn sour.
Secondly, the rescue centres may not be asked as many questions, or ask as many questions themselves, to ensure that the dog is suitably homed. For instance when I adopted my parents, they filled out a form and were asked where we lived, did we have a garden, was there open space for me to run around nearby, did we live on a major road, how high are the fences in the garden. All sensible questions so that the likelihood of (say) a husky or Great Dane living on the 29th Storey of apartments doesnt happen. Equally Lenny arrived with the kind people who run the rescue service and they checked out the house and garden personally to make sure it was safe and right for him to live here.
Really the point I am trying to make is this. The adopted dog has just settled into a new life, with new rules and regimentation now understood. To then be left home alone, with no interaction for the large part of the day isn’t particularly fair on any of the parties involved in the re-homing. The rescue/shelter then ends up having a large influx of dogs once a new normal becomes a reality, and the whole process starts once more.
Yes Dexter, stay at home orders were like Christmas every day for doggos.
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Such a sad state when the novelty rubs off. They are part of the family and should be cared for as you would a child.
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We are part of the family and, indeed, to some people we are their family. I would just like people to do their homework a little better before introducing us to a new home.
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