Guardianship and Commitment

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December 14, 2012 by lizforanimals

I am tired of reading story after story about animals being abused, neglected, abandoned and surrendered and all for the most ridiculous reasons!
Puppies because they chew on things or had an ‘accident’ in the house; elderly dogs because they can’t run anymore or they’re no longer cute; cats and dogs because they became ill or their people moved and they can’t have animals where they moved to. Personally, I wouldn’t move somewhere if I wasn’t able to take my fur family with me. Often animals are abandoned with the incorrect thinking that the animal will survive on its’ own. We see this with reptiles, rodents, rabbits, birds and even cats and dogs. Sometimes they do survive, but usually at a cost to our ecosystem, as they are usually not indigenous to the area where they were abandoned. The feral cat and dog problems were created by humans as well.

Bringing an animal into your home is a HUGE commitment and not something to be taken lightly. The animal is going to depend on you to meet his or her needs for the entire duration of his or her life and if you are unable or unwilling to take that responsibility seriously, then please do not take on the commitment.

We are their Guardians. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition of guardian states: One who guards, preserves, or secures; one to whom any person or thing is committed for protection, security, or preservation from injury. The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of guardian states: A person who protects or defends something; a defender, protector, or keeper; a person who is legally responsible for the care of someone(in this case, an animal) who is unable to manage their own affairs.

The responsibility to care for an animal lasts from infancy into the elder years and includes all basic needs, like food, water, shelter, medical, dental, love/affection and anything else needed for the health and welfare of the animal. This responsibility does not cease because one becomes bored with the animal, moves to a new residence or the animal simply grows old or becomes ill.
As a Guardian, we are expected to ensure and provide for, the animals in our care, at all times, not JUST when it is convenient for us to do so.

If, for some unforeseen reason, one is forced into a situation where they find themselves no longer able to care for their animal, there is absolutely no justification for neglecting or abandoning them. There are options available to you. Most communities offer something. There are shelters (preferably no-kill shelters), rescue organizations, the local SPCA and even some agencies that will provide temporary shelter for your animal until you are back on your feet. Social media like Facebook and Twitter can also offer a much larger population of where one might seek help. So much more is possible through social media these days. There are even transports who will bring a rescue animal from one end of the country to another, so don’t be afraid to use the internet to network with organizations and individuals. Do some research in your area and reach out before you relinquish the animal that has come to love, trust and depend on you. You, at the very least, owe them that much.

Being a guardian is a life long commitment and if you are unable to make this commitment to an animal, then please do everyone a favour and DO NOT bring an animal into your home!

The holiday season is upon us once again and I thought it wise to remind people that animals are not products and should not be given as gifts, unless you are absolutely sure that the animal will be welcomed with open arms. By this, I mean, that you have done the research, discussed the ramifications of pet guardianship openly with all parties involved, and that everyone involved is one hundred percent on board with the decision. Please don’t shop, perpetuating the puppy/kitten mills, but instead, please consider adopting, as there are so many wonderful animals(rodents, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, cats, dogs, etc.) out there waiting for their forever home.

5 Reasons Not To Buy a Puppy      Please Adopt

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