Aprill Brandon column: Part of being human is being humane
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BY APRILL BRANDON ABRANDON@VICAD.COM
Why hello there! Aren't you just a pwetty wittle reader? Yes, you are. Such a pwetty wittle reader. I could just eat your wittle face off, you're so cute. Who's a good reader? Who's a good wittle reader?!?
Oh. Wow. Just realized what I wrote there and I am so sorry. Due to recent events, I'm finding it nearly impossible to communicate these days without using that annoying tone and terminology I usually reserve for when I interact with puppies, kitties and the occasional hobbit. It's gotten so bad that I'm pretty sure yesterday I told my boss that "Him has such a cute tie! Yes him does! Wook at 'dat cute wittle tie!"
You see, my husband and I recently rescued two very young kittens who were starving, covered in gunk and on the brink of death. We heard them crying and decided to take them in for a night, fully planning on taking them to a no-kill shelter the next day.
Ah, yes, the best laid plans, right? As it turns out, both Adopt-A-Pet and Dorothy H. O'Connor Pet Adoption Center were completely full. In fact, one employee told me this year is the worst she has ever seen in terms of the sheer numbers of abandoned animals.
And so, despite the fact we had limited space in our small place, which is also already occupied by two big rescue dogs, we became foster parents to two 4-week-old kittens. I, however, was determined to keep an emotional distance from them until we found them a permanent home. Their cute little faces could not penetrate my steely resolve nor could their soft purring bodies held against my chest affect me in the least.
Not at all.
Not. At. All.
They were just stupid kittens after all. Stupid, little kittens ... with big blue eyes ... looking up at me ... all kitten-like.
Stupid kittens making me feel feelings and junk.
Stupid kittens that made me name them Spike and Giles, thus making them no longer animals, but beloved pets.
And that's pretty much when all hell broke loose.
In less than a week, our lives turned upside down. We dropped $200 at the vet, bottle-fed them every two to three hours, cleaned them several times a day and gave ownership of our bathroom over to them.
Now dealing with four pets, our small townhouse, which was once filled with books, art and candles, was now wall-to-wall with chew toys, rawhide bones, tennis balls, miniature baby bottles, soiled towels, kitty poop, dog vomit, heartworm medication, pet carriers, dog treats, leashes, pet shampoo, specialized kitten formula, food and water bowls, 900-pound bags of dog food, flea collars and specifically for my dog Buffy, who is a VERY BAD DOG and won't quit biting his tail, the cone of shame.
Not to mention, our house was now 63 percent fur. It was enough fur to plug the BP oil spill, with enough left over to make Donald Trump a believable toupee.
And then, just when we had abandoned all hope and had resigned ourselves to being the crazy "too many pets" couple, I found someone to adopt the kittens.
Excited, I ran to tell my husband only to discover him very visibly upset. He quietly told me that Giles had just died. His little body had just given out, despite two weeks of nursing him back to health and him fighting like a champ.
My husband, who took on the bulk of Operation Kittie Rescue duties, was devastated. He had even taken them to work everyday, keeping them in his office, so he could feed them regularly and monitor their health.
I, on the other hand, got irrationally mad. Mad at the whole situation in general. Mad there are lazy pet owners who let their pets roam free and refuse to spay and neuter them, despite the fact there are programs within the city to help defray the cost. Mad that for every person out there willing to take in and rescue animals, there are two more willing to drive down a country road and toss an unwanted animal from the car window.
It's the easiest thing in the world to be a lazy pet owner. It's also cruel.
Something has to change. We can't let this problem get any bigger. You may not see the effects of letting pets roam free and breed, but that doesn't mean it isn't horrible. I have seen it and it is horrible. The only solace I take in Giles dying was that at least he did it in my husband's loving hands instead of starving and at the whim of the elements under that thorny brush by the roadside.
So please, if you have pets, spay and neuter them. If you don't want your pet, find someone who does or bring them to a shelter.
Because part of being human is being humane.
Aprill Brandon is a reporter for the Advocate. For more information on programs to spay and neuter pets, call Adopt-A-Pet at 361-575-7387 or visit www.AdoptAPetVictoria.com.