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Thread: Letter to Mr. & Mrs. Pet Owner

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ploss's Halfway House for Homeless Cats
    Posts
    18,325

    *BUMP* Letter to Mr. & Mrs. Pet Owner

    I found this letter and thought it would be appropriate to post under Pets General. I believe this letter should be posted in every shelter in America. It would save the volunteers an enormous amount of time and energy listening to some of the excuses people come up with to get rid of their pets.

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Average Pet Owner:

    Thank you for contacting us animal rescuers, shelter volunteers, and foster-homes about your inability to keep your pet.We receive an extremely high volume of inquiries and requests to accept surrendered animals (and none of us is getting paid, OK?). To help us expedite your problem as quickly as possible, please observe the following guidelines:

    1. Do not say that you are "CONSIDERING finding a good home" for your pet, or that you, "feel you MIGHT be forced to," or that you "really THINK it would be better if" you unloaded the poor beast. Ninety-five percent of you have already got your minds stone-cold made up that the animal WILL be out of your life by the weekend at the latest. Say so. If you don't, I'm going to waste a lot of time giving you common-sense, easy solutions for very fixable problems, and you're going to waste a lot of time coming up with fanciful reasons why the solution couldn't possibly work for you. For instance, you say the cat claws the furniture, and I tell you about nail-clipping and scratching posts and aversion training, and then you go into a long harangue about how your husband won't let you put a scratching post in the family room, and your ADHD daughter cries if you use a squirt bottle on the cat, and your congenital thumb abnormalities prevent you from using nail scissors and etc., etc!
    . Just say you're getting rid of the cat.

    2. Do not waste time trying to convince me how nice and humane you are. Your coworker recommended that you contact me because I am nice to animals, not because I am nice to people, and I don't like people who "get rid of" their animals. "Get rid of" is my least favorite phrase in any language. I hope someone "gets rid of" YOU someday. I am an animal advocate, not a people therapist. After all, for your ADHD daughter, you can get counselors, special teachers, doctors, social workers, etc. Your pet has only me, and people like me, to turn to in his or her need, and we are unpaid, overworked, stressed-out, and demoralized. So don't tell me this big long story about how, "We love this dog so much, and we even bought him a special bed that cost $50, and it is just KILLING us to part with him, but honestly, our maid is just awash in dog hair every time she cleans, and his breath sometimes just reeks of liver, so you can see how hard we've tried, and how dear he is to us, but we re!
    ally just can't . . . ." You are not nice, and it is not killing you. It is, in all probability, literally killing your dog, but you're going to be just fine once the beast is out of your sight. Don't waste my time trying to make me like you or feel sorry for you in your plight.

    3. Do not try to convince me that your pet is exceptional and deserves special treatment. I don't care if you taught him to sit. I don't care if she's a beautiful Persian. I have a waiting list of battered and/or whacked-out animals who need help, and I have no room to foster-house your pet. Do not send me long messages detailing how Fido just l-o-v-e-s blankies and carries his favorite blankie everywhere, and oh, when he gets all excited and happy, he spins around in circles, isn't that cute? He really is darling, so it wouldn't be any trouble at all for us to find him a good home. Listen, we can go down to the pound and count the darling, spinning, blankie-loving beasts on death row by the dozens, any day of the week. And, honey, Fido is a six-year-old Shepherd-Lab mix. I am not lying when I tell you that big, older, mixed-breed, garden-variety dogs are almost completely unadoptable, and I don't care if they can whistle Dixie or send semaphore signals with their blankies. !
    What you don't realize is that, though you're trying to lie to me, you're actually telling the truth: Your pet is a special, wonderful, amazing creature. But this mean old world does not care. More importantly, YOU do not care, and I can't fix that problem.

    All I can do is grieve for all the exceptional animals who live short, brutal, loveless lives and die without anyone ever recognizing that they were indeed very, very special.

    4. Finally, just, for God's sake, for the animal's sake, tell the truth, and the whole truth. Do you think that if you just mumble that your cat is "high-strung," I will say, "Okey-doke! No prob!" and take it into foster care? No, I will start a asking questions and uncover the truth, which is that your cat has not used a litter box in the last six months. Do not tell me that you "can't" crate your dog. I will ask what happens when you try to crate him, and you will either be forced to tell me the symptoms of full-blown, severe separation anxiety, or else you will resort to lying some more, wasting more of our time.

    And, if you succeed in placing your pet in a shelter or foster care, do not tell yourself the biggest lie of all: "Those nice people will take him and find him a good home, and everything will be fine." Those nice people will indeed give the animal every possible chance, but if we discover serious health or behavior problems, if we find that your misguided attempts to train or discipline him have driven him over the edge, we will do what you are too immoral and cowardly to do: We will hold the animal in our arms, telling him truthfully that he is a good dog or cat, telling him truthfully that we are sorry and we love him, while the vet ends his life. How can we be so heartless as to kill your pet, you ask? Do not ever dare to judge us.

    At least we tried. At least we stuck with him to the end. At least we never abandoned him to strangers, as you certainly did, didn't you? In short, this little old rescuer/foster momma has reached the point where she would prefer you pet owners to tell her stories like this:

    "We went to Wal-Mart and picked up a free pet in the parking lot a couple of years ago. Now we don't want it anymore. We're lazier than we thought. We've got no patience either. We're starting to suspect the animal is really smarter than we are, which is giving us self-esteem issues. Clearly, we can't possibly keep it. Plus, it might be getting sick; it's acting kind of funny.

    "We would like you to take it in eagerly, enthusiastically, and immediately. We hope you'll realize what a deal you're getting and not ask us for a donation to help defray your costs. After all, this is an (almost) pure-bred animal, and we'll send the leftover food along with it. We get it at Wal-Mart too, and boy, it's a really good deal, price-wise.

    "We are very irritated that you haven't shown pity on us in our great need and picked the animal up already. We thought you people were supposed to be humane! Come and get it today. No, we couldn't possibly bring it to you; the final episode of 'Survivor II' is on tonight."

    Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Pet Owner, for your cooperation.
    Last edited by moosmom; 06-26-2012 at 12:14 PM.

    Rest In Peace Casey (Bubba Dude) Your paw print will remain on my heart forever. 12/02
    Mollie Rose, you were there for me through good times and in bad, from the beginning.Your passing will leave a hole in my heart.We will be together "One Fine Day". 1994-2009
    MooShoo,you left me too soon.I wasn't ready.Know that you were my soulmate and have left me broken hearted.I loved you like no other. 1999 - 2010See you again "ONE FINE DAY"
    Maya Linn, my heart is broken. The day your beautiful blue eyes went blind was the worst day of my life.I only wish I could've done something.I'll miss your "premium" purr and our little "conversations". 1997-2013 See you again "ONE FINE DAY"

    DO NOT BUY WHILE SHELTER ANIMALS DIE!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    743
    That sounds about right to me.

    Poor unwanted animals. I wish I could adopt you all.

    Every sweet animal deserves a kind, patient, loving home. It's too bad so many idiots get involved with pets they "can't handle", "weren't prepared for", or just had the "nerve" to grow up and/or not train themselves.

    *whimper*
    *grrrrrrrrr*

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ploss's Halfway House for Homeless Cats
    Posts
    18,325
    I was at the Humane Society a couple of weeks ago taking a picture of a cat for my column. I was behind a woman who was asking about surrendering an animal. When the clerk asked why she was giving the cat up her reasoning was "Personal problems". The clerk told her that she needed more information on the cat as far as any history and all the woman kept saying was "Personal problems". When she brought the cat in, it was OBVIOUS that he/she had outgrown their "cuteness" and the woman tired of it. It made me SO pissed off. But being there as a writer for the Hartford Courant, I had to keep my mouth shut. GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

    Rest In Peace Casey (Bubba Dude) Your paw print will remain on my heart forever. 12/02
    Mollie Rose, you were there for me through good times and in bad, from the beginning.Your passing will leave a hole in my heart.We will be together "One Fine Day". 1994-2009
    MooShoo,you left me too soon.I wasn't ready.Know that you were my soulmate and have left me broken hearted.I loved you like no other. 1999 - 2010See you again "ONE FINE DAY"
    Maya Linn, my heart is broken. The day your beautiful blue eyes went blind was the worst day of my life.I only wish I could've done something.I'll miss your "premium" purr and our little "conversations". 1997-2013 See you again "ONE FINE DAY"

    DO NOT BUY WHILE SHELTER ANIMALS DIE!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    856
    Oh, that brought me to tears....how appropriate. Finally the truth is out....I am going to email that letter to the local shelter here.

    Where did you find it MoosMom?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ploss's Halfway House for Homeless Cats
    Posts
    18,325
    I found it on another site and thought it would be a great thing to post here. It is SO true. People who discard their animals think us volunteers are stupid. Not hardly. After a while you begin to see right through them.

    Rest In Peace Casey (Bubba Dude) Your paw print will remain on my heart forever. 12/02
    Mollie Rose, you were there for me through good times and in bad, from the beginning.Your passing will leave a hole in my heart.We will be together "One Fine Day". 1994-2009
    MooShoo,you left me too soon.I wasn't ready.Know that you were my soulmate and have left me broken hearted.I loved you like no other. 1999 - 2010See you again "ONE FINE DAY"
    Maya Linn, my heart is broken. The day your beautiful blue eyes went blind was the worst day of my life.I only wish I could've done something.I'll miss your "premium" purr and our little "conversations". 1997-2013 See you again "ONE FINE DAY"

    DO NOT BUY WHILE SHELTER ANIMALS DIE!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Georgia, USA
    Posts
    5,946
    AMEN TO THAT!!!!
    Sometimes I wonder if I live on the same planet as the people who just give up their pets....... Don't they see that animals have feelings and personalities? It really is like giving up your child, isn't it? Animals are totally dependant on us and grow and change just like babies and THEY LOVE US!!!! I just don't get people.... I just pray God takes pity on those helpless, neglected, abandoned animal soles!!
    [CENTER]

    Alden is here!!
    7/6/2006 - 9 pounds 9 ounces 22 inches


    Tinky

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    19,897
    I really don't understand how people could just say, "Well, we just love (him or her) to death but..... Like it say's, it's just an excuse. I wish everyone who came to give up an animal were forced to read this first. How many would go home ashamed?

    Huney, Bon & Simba-missed so very much
    Remembering all the Rainbow Bridge Pets

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Columbia, MD
    Posts
    4,122
    Donna, That lil letter is so true. I am crying right now.
    I get so mad at people sometimes. It just drives me crazy.

    I have a bunch of people at work who have tried to "pawn" (for the lack of a better word) their pets on me because I am a nice and caring person. I try to help them and get them in touch with the right people, but sometimes, they never quit. Once a guy here told me, keep him until you find him a home. I said: "What's wrong with you keeping him while we try and find him a home!?"


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Posts
    12,716
    I almost wish that it would be mandatory for first time pet owners to take some classes on how to care for a dog before being allowed to adopt one. It might eliminate "impulse pet buying" and people buying who have no earthly idea of how to take care of and train a pet. I know this would never work, though. Most people wouldn't want to put forth that much effort. Sadly, today people are raising "skin kids" the same way; bringing them into the world and allowing them to raise themselves without proper guidance or direction.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ploss's Halfway House for Homeless Cats
    Posts
    18,325
    DoggiesAreTheBest,

    Believe me, I know how you feel about people trying to pawn their unwanted pets off on you. People are always asking me advice about cats. I don't mind giving them advice. But sometimes it's not what they want to hear. Like people who declaw their cats and wonder why the cat is peeing outside the box. Or the classic "No, I haven't had my cat spayed yet, but she doesn't go out so it doesn't matter." UGH!!!!! . When I tell them not only is it better health wise for the cat to be spayed, but should the cat ever get out (he claims that will NEVER happen) she won't get pregnant. I told him never say never and don't come to me whining about how your cat got out and now she's pregnant. People are SO stupid sometimes. BTW, I have a bumper sticker on my car that says "I'm tired of stupid people".

    Or they'll come up to me and tell me they have this "friend" who needs to find a home for their cat. I just ask them "What's wrong with the home they have now???" That turns them right off. It gets old REAL fast. I try to help them out as much as I can by putting them in touch with people I know. But now that it's kitten season, the shelters are jam packed.

    I have also learned to keep a cat carrier in my car at all times. Sooooooo many times I've had co-workers tell me about a cat that has been abandoned, and I've ended up taking them home, driving with the cat in my lap. Not a good idea.

    I keep reminding myself why I do what I do. I don't do it for the stupid people. I do it because I love animals (all animals) and I do it for the stupid people's animals that have been tossed out like yesterday's trash. *sigh*

    Rest In Peace Casey (Bubba Dude) Your paw print will remain on my heart forever. 12/02
    Mollie Rose, you were there for me through good times and in bad, from the beginning.Your passing will leave a hole in my heart.We will be together "One Fine Day". 1994-2009
    MooShoo,you left me too soon.I wasn't ready.Know that you were my soulmate and have left me broken hearted.I loved you like no other. 1999 - 2010See you again "ONE FINE DAY"
    Maya Linn, my heart is broken. The day your beautiful blue eyes went blind was the worst day of my life.I only wish I could've done something.I'll miss your "premium" purr and our little "conversations". 1997-2013 See you again "ONE FINE DAY"

    DO NOT BUY WHILE SHELTER ANIMALS DIE!!

  11. #11
    That is so true moosmom. That article might be worth slipping in my Christmas cards this year. ( I love my friends and relatives but sometimes their pet sense really makes me boiling mad).

  12. #12
    I have just read this thread after searching for something else unrelated.

    How sad and how true that letter is, the vet part had me in tears.

    I know Steve & I have acquired a few pets over the last few months but we thought of carefully about the costs and space available (You can always find more love).

    We knew what we were taken on...ie 20 years of love & care needed for each and every cat in our care.

    Abandoning older cats like our George or an old lady we spotted at the shelter at the weekend, who at 13 years old has little chance of being adopted, is very cruel.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    5,318
    I've seen this before, printed it out, showed it around. It's so sad, so true...

    Thank you Wolf_Q!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ploss's Halfway House for Homeless Cats
    Posts
    18,325
    I know I posted this 10 years ago. But I feel the need to do it again. Hope you don't mind.

    Rest In Peace Casey (Bubba Dude) Your paw print will remain on my heart forever. 12/02
    Mollie Rose, you were there for me through good times and in bad, from the beginning.Your passing will leave a hole in my heart.We will be together "One Fine Day". 1994-2009
    MooShoo,you left me too soon.I wasn't ready.Know that you were my soulmate and have left me broken hearted.I loved you like no other. 1999 - 2010See you again "ONE FINE DAY"
    Maya Linn, my heart is broken. The day your beautiful blue eyes went blind was the worst day of my life.I only wish I could've done something.I'll miss your "premium" purr and our little "conversations". 1997-2013 See you again "ONE FINE DAY"

    DO NOT BUY WHILE SHELTER ANIMALS DIE!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,670
    10 years old but still so very true. I can't count how many times I see people needing their pet gone by the weekend as if they just found out they were moving. Or they just found out they were 8.5 months pregnant so its time to get rid of the pets immediately that day. I wish I didn't live on the same planet as these people.
    "There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion."

    Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

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