Well folks, this is another plea for people to think before adopting a pet–especially students adopting pets on campus. It is also a plea for parents to teach children about responsibility. Please, stress that a pet is a living creature with feelings. As we come upon spring break, and soon the end of another semester, the shelters always receive pets from students that didn’t think ahead. And, many more come from apartments where pets have been abandoned by students who couldn’t find answers to the problems that came with caring for a pet forever.
A trusting, loving cat, dog, or exotic species loses his home–maybe even his or her life–because one person didn’t think about what it means to take responsibility for an animal that may live 8-20 years or more. While we teach students about the world and build a base of skills to earn a living, we obviously haven’t taught some of them much about real life. That brings me to an idea that I hope a few pet lovers may be able to implement in your community. It’s perfect for those who want to do something and haven’t got much time or who can’t volunteer on a regular schedule.
If you can spare even a few hours, offer to give a short seminar at your closest community college or university about pet care. Stress the responsibilities and provide lots of information. Also, encourage the students who may be enlisted or have other unavoidable conflicts not to adopt a pet at this time. If they already have a pet, suggest that they work on finding another student to adopt it or find a home before they are faced with dropping it at a shelter. If possible, ask a shelter worker to come to your seminar and arrange tours for the students.
Don’t spare them the gory details and statistics. It’s up to those of us who work with these creatures every day to educate, educate, educate, and get students and parents to understand that pets are not disposable. We need to teach people to understand the value of a life and to understand what that type of commitment involves. It will help our pets and our children. Students are the parents of tomorrow–or maybe of today.
Should anyone want to take on this type of project and need help or ideas just drop me an email. I’ll be happy to help you find statistics and resources. Have a great weekend!