Several months ago I jumped on the Free and For Sale Facebook group bandwagon and found myself pleasantly surprised at the little online community. Not only could I buy and sell gently used furniture and clothing from people in my local community, but I was able to see who I was connecting with within the group, which made it seem like an easy and safe alternative to websites like Craigslist.
However over the last few months I have notice a troubling trend on these local group pages: people who try to get rid of their pets just like that prom dress taking up space in their closet.
Each post about the poor dog or cat that is in need of a new owner is accompanied by a story about how the current owner is moving to a new apartment complex that does not allow pets or how the pet had too much energy for the family. While the owner’s efforts to find the pet a new loving home instead of sending it to the humane society is commendable, it is appalling to see how many pet owners in our local community irresponsibly rush into their decision to get a pet and are unable to fully commit to give these animals the families they deserve.
The average cat lives 12 to 14 years, and the average dog lives to be about 11. Owning an animal is a serious commit of your time, money and energy and should not be taken lightly. Pets are wonderful companions, and owning and taking care of one can be a truly rewarding experience, but household pets are completely dependent on their owners, which is a big responsibility.
Pets aren’t meant to be sold or given away to strangers over the Internet like a unwanted piece of furniture because they no longer fit into your life; they are meant to be a part of your family. Responsible pet owners have to be willing to make sacrifices for their animals. If you adopt or purchase an animal now make sure to take them with you to wherever you are in the future. If that animal is going to be sharing a household with other people or other animals try introducing them to each other before you commit to having them. Also, do some research on the breed characteristics of your pet to make sure that they will fit your lifestyle properly.
Owning a pet isn’t for everyone, but if you want to take that step make sure you can be the person your pet thinks your are and give them the forever home they truly deserve.
Callanan is a senior communication arts major from Chuluota, Flor. She is the current Opinions Editor.