By Linda Cole
I once had a coworker who felt it was her duty to chastise me for rescuing stray pets and giving them a temporary home while I tried to find their owner, and then a forever home if their owner couldn’t be found. The money I spent on their vet care and food was beyond her comprehension. After months of complaining, one day she said “That’s stupid to spend your money on those cats and dogs. Just think how much money you’d have if you got rid of them.” She had no idea what I spent on them because I never talked about it, but it was what she said next that made me blow a gasket. “Just dump them in the country. No one will know.” I won’t repeat what I said to her, except to say she got an earful on what I thought about her suggestion. She had never been a pet owner and I knew I would be wasting my breath trying to explain something she couldn’t comprehend.
To me, all animals have worth and it has nothing to do with money. They are all living beings and have a right to life. To ignore a lost/stray pet that needs help with food or finding a home is not something I can do. Also, if I found a wild animal that needed help I wouldn’t hesitate to do what I could for them.
I realize the true worth of a pet is different for everyone because we don’t all have the same kind of relationship with our pets. For many of us, though, our pets give us a reason to get up in the morning. They can make a rainy day seem sunny and bright. Pets have a contagious enthusiasm for life they pass on to us, if we’re willing to take it. For other owners, their pet plays a limited role in their life and can easily be replaced. To them, it’s “just” an animal.