Monday, March 12, 2012
I remember when I got my first pets and took them to the vet for their checkup. They handed me a questionnaire concerning how I wanted them to care for my pets. One of the questions was along the lines of “How much money was I willing to pay?” I thought that was a stupid question. The first choice was “Cost is not a consideration,” and I checked that box. They weren't asking if I could afford it, they were asking if I wanted my pets treated no matter what the cost might be. I accepted the responsibility of caring for my pets the day I took them into my home, and that included any and all medical care. Vet care is one way we protect our pets, but there are other situations when pets need our help. How far would you go to protect your pet?
The thing about accidents is that we can't anticipate when one will happen. No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves or our pets, sometimes the worst case happens and we find ourselves in a sticky situation. I read a story about a woman who pushed past firemen to try and get into her burning home to save her dogs. Thankfully, they had already been saved by the firemen, but she didn't know it and was willing to run into her burning home to save her pets.
We can't really know how we would react an emergency situation until it's staring us in the face. When forced to make a quick decision, some pet owners may not stop to think about the danger to themselves. I think most of us who love our pets would do what we needed to do to protect our pets, if at all possible. Sometimes there's danger involved, and sometimes it's giving up a home in order to keep a pet.
Last December, a 79 year old women living in Oklahoma was forced out of her home by a landlord who decided her mobile home was too old. It didn't matter that she had nowhere to go. She wasn't able to find a landlord who would rent to her because of her pets, so she chose to live in her car with them. For her, getting rid of her pets was not an option.
In Los Angeles, a disabled man confined to a wheelchair found a young pit bull that was close to death in an abandoned apartment building. He nursed her back to health, had her examined by a vet, had her spayed, de-wormed and fitted with a microchip. When he applied to his landlord to bring the dog to his apartment, his request was denied even though pets are allowed in the apartments. The dog had been abandoned once and he wasn't going to let that happen a second time to a dog no one else wanted. To take a stand, he moved out on the street. With help from a dog rescuer, he's working with his dog to have her eventually certified as a therapy dog and hopefully convince his landlord to allow him to bring his therapy dog home.
A nineteen year old was enjoying an afternoon hiking with his family and their dogs when one of the dogs fell over a cliff and slid down a steep embankment. The young man didn't think twice and slid down the cliff to his dog. They were stuck 300 feet up on the side of the hill. He told a reporter after being rescued, “I don't know what I was thinking when I went down. It's not just a dog, it's family and my best friend at the same time, so I had to do it.”
Pet owners have attacked wild animals to protect their pet. There's something that snaps when a pet is in trouble and we don't think about the consequences of our actions. We don't always have the luxury of time to make an informed or reasonable decision. Sometimes we just have to do what our gut feeling tells us to do. It may not always be a wise choice, but it's one many pet owners are willing to make.
I've had two times where my pets were threatened: a house fire and a visit from a coyote. I was able to save my pets from the fire. The coyote was on the other side of the pen, but I was ready for him if he decided to jump the fence, and would not have hesitated to do what was needed to protect my dogs. I have no doubt in my mind they would do the same for me.
Photo by Michelle Maria
Read more articles by Linda Cole