Responsible Pet Ownership in 2022

Kristen Duhr, Founder & Director of H2H, here!

I’ve been doing some reflecting on responsible pet ownership and realized the responsible thing for me as a rescue owner was to share the following so here goes…..

I suppose I should also “apologize” for anyone who I offend as the people in this world are very easily offended these days and I certainly don’t want to contribute to that. I’ll try to stay as positive as I can for we all know there is enough negativity in the world currently.

Christmas is such a joyous time of year, especially when a puppy or kitten is gifted to the kids or significant other. Once the newness wears off and you’ve realized that you actually now have another living thing to care for, poop to step in and pick up, bills to pay and be responsible for, please bring your pets to a shelter so they can be rehomed appropriately.

You don’t like that comment? That’s either because you commit for life and couldn’t fathom otherwise or because you think people should commit for life. Surprise! They don’t. People don’t commit to people for life let alone pets.

Don’t get mad at the dog or cat for crapping on the floor or destroying your stuff. That only happens when you’ve failed to take care of it appropriately, failed to provide boundaries and failed to create structure. Not the pets fault. It’s yours.

What was once a cute adorable puppy or kitten grows to be an adult dog or cat. How do people repeatedly forget this? Please don’t be swept off your feet by cute, fluffy, yummy puppy breath just to be disappointed that your pet has grown into an adult. Dogs and cats are significantly more difficult to rehome as adults so think about that first!

All puppies and kittens don’t typically shed very much! Surprise, most of them do once they lose their baby coats. You don’t want to have to write on the surrender form that you are giving up your dog or cat because it sheds so consider this before making your selection.

Your puppy is biting your children? Surprise! That’s normal! Children are the weakest links within a family. They have a harder time establishing leadership, being consistent and communicating with intention. Dogs also often can’t tell if they are playing or if they are trying to get away from them. Educate your kids and get a trainer to help the puppy integrate appropriately BEFORE your child is too scared of the dog to keep it.

It’s winter. It’s cold. Dogs need exercise so if you don’t like to bundle up, standing at the door with a retractable ain’t gonna cut it. Please hire a dog walker, send your dog to camp to play with other dogs and educate yourself how to mentally stimulate your dog in a 4 X 4 square. We all have an empty space in our home or garage to work our dogs minds. You don’t? Make one. Dogs and cats cost money. You didn’t realize how much? Find a more affordable option (yes, they are out there), stop the smoking habit, cut yourself off at 3 drinks instead of 6…. Your dog or cat has needs too.

Your pets need grooming. Do it yourself or pay someone else. You didn’t know the requirements to maintain your pet? Educate yourself before being impulsive about the decision to become a pet owner. You shower daily, wash your hair, brush your teeth and they need regular maintenance too to discover issues, keep them healthy and feeling fresh and clean. Don’t ignore proper hygiene for your pet because “you didn’t know”. I’m telling you and now you do.

Lastly, it’s not okay to feel judged for returning a pet or purchasing a pet but you will be judged for not taking care of your pets. Owning pets is a choice. A choice you made. If you can’t commit to the things necessary to have one, do us all a favor and get yourself a stuffed animal. Happy New Year! May 2022 bring lots of responsible homes to the animals we bring into the world and may we become more responsible for the pets we currently have. ❤️

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