Pets are NOT status symbols
I wondered if I should post about this for a while.
And when something gnaws at me for months, I write. It means I have to get the knowledge out there.
Uptown Prairie Nymph
Years ago, when I lived in Uptown Dallas, I had a mixed breed dog chosen by my ex mother-in-law. I learned to love Ollie, but he was a horrible puppy that no training could help. In fact, we were almost kicked out of puppy kindergarten. Yes, I was mortified. In his older years, he was mostly a good bunny boy, but was still nasty to other dogs when we were out walking. One yoga-clad woman, with a tiny purebred yappy type dog, apparently exempt from leash laws, would ask “what kind of dog is THAT?!” I called her Uptown Prairie Nymph. I should have replied “A MAGICAL one!”
What they don’t tell you in vet school
In the 1980s, I was a veterinary tech in San Francisco working the graveyard shift. Working my dream- destined to be a vet!
I saw some really stupid pet owners and breeders. I have a special dislike for most breeders- profiting off animals when there are SO MANY who need adoption. Purebred snobbery was as common then as now. It may be worse now since Paris Hilton first used her teeny dog as an ACCESSORY. One breeder insisted her poodle be dyed mauve to match her carpet. Other breeders insisted that the breeding mother only have C sections or abortions of “unsavory cross breeds”.
Buyers insisted on financing purebred dogs only to not vaccinate them and have a $6,000 dog die of Parvovirus.
Others wanted their children to”witness the miracle of birth” to which my clever coworker answered “by all means, bring your kids back when the kittens need to be euthanized for the miracle of death.”
I dreaded Tuesdays.
Each Tuesday, at 1 AM, the rendering truck would come to fetch all the dead animals from our dumpsters. Every Tuesday, the dumpster was full of dead animals.
I could hear the grinding of the hydraulic lift, the piercing sound of metal on metal. The sickening sounds: thud, thud of hundreds of animal bodies from our practice of patients, puppy mills, and nearby kill shelters.
The puppy mill pups were the worst- these are purebreds that go to mall pet stores. Every Christmas, hundreds came in, sick with parvo or “no longer cute”, dead within days.
We had to put them in freezers to keep the smell down, but every Monday night, into the dumpster they went.
EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
If you have allergies to dogs and cats and need a hypoallergenic pet, I’m not mad at you. My husband and I are terribly allergic to both, so we just don’t have pets.
If you need something cute or “status” to impress others, I am mad at you.
Go to a SHELTER or RESCUE GROUP.
Get an affordable mutt or mix who is spayed or neutered and vaccinated. They are retrainable, I promise. Even the older ones.
Stop using animals to make yourself feel better about who you are.
You are not Paris Hilton.
All my young life, I thought I would become a vet. That 2 year stint and the rendering truck and how stupid people are with animals ruined it for me. My heart was broken.
One such Tuesday, I hid in a small part of the animal hospital and cried and cried. “No more death. No more waste. Stupid people should not own animals. No more breeders.”
I knew why most of the vets I worked with were angry and sad. In addition to massive student loans, the reality of this sordid profession smacked them between the eyes. They hadn’t accounted for STUPID PEOPLE. They were now trapped between Sallie Mae and a rendering truck.
I quit days after and returned to university.
I became a paleontologist because the animals had been dead and extinct for millions of years.