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Early Responsibility Learning

Pet Care/Pet Respect for Kids

          Pet Respect and Pet Care for Kids

Our family has always treasured the time we spent with our pets and lovedDog4_sm.jpg (20092 bytes) our dogs with all our hearts. We spoiled them, I have to admit: actually planned field trips and picnics with them in mind, went to the ends of the earth to look for the perfect people who would take care of them in THEIR homes when we had to go away, rarely if ever placing them in kennels; had one sleep in bed with us while the other actually had her own futon. When dog #1, Lenore, got her leg operated on, my husband slept with her for three nights until she stopped whimpering. Our precious pets lived to be 16 and 12, respectively.

When the second, Myrtle, could no longer jump into the back seat of our car because her hind legs "went", my husband built a wooden ramp for her and actually carpeted it.

When our first "fur-child", Lenore, started bumping into walls and became too sick to hold herself up, her misery showed on her little face. We knew we had to do the humane thing and euthanize her. We cried for weeks and swore that we'd never get another dog. But, our pre-teen daughter wanted another pet two Dog5_sm.jpg (23944 bytes)years later. How could we resist? We all honed in on the little white ball of fluff, looking tearfully at us through a large cage at the Aiken ASPCA. Within an hour, Myrtle was in the car sitting on our daughter's lap and heading for her new home.

But, 12 years went by all too quickly. Myrtle's kidneys had shut down and she was in great pain. She was diagnosed with Cushings, among other ailments. The first Veterinarian, who had always taken care of Myrtle, gave us a crash course in administering IV fluids. We tried for three days and nights, Nothing worked. We wanted another opinion ..... hoping that everybody was wrong. We took Myrtle to a second Veterinarian to have her tested. When the second test confirmed the first Vet's findings, and watching Myrtle go quickly downhill, we knew we had to do the humane thing again and euthanize her. I doubt that I have ever cried so much in my life. Her ashes are buried in an Urn, inDog3_sm.jpg (31854 bytes) a little patch of earth between our kitchen and back deck. It has been over two years and we still open our back door and say "good night, we love you" to Myrtle every single night.

Although my husband and I know that adopting another dog would do me wonders, now that I am ill and fairly housebound, we have also come to the realization that we would no longer be able to devote the care and attention that a pet dog would warrant. And, at our age, we would constantly worry what would happen to our pet when we grow older and sicker.

Therefore, our hearts sadly remain "pet-empty", but our minds think about the welfare of pets in general all of the time.

That's why we were so influenced by pet atrocities featured in the news media. Dog fights, puppy mills, keeping animals in filthy cages, throwing kittens off a cliff, and hurting animals in general is intolerable and reeks of a lack of respect and responsibility towards these helpless creatures! It's so disturbing and downright disgusting! Education and encouragement of pet respect and care, starting with young children, is a must.

Additionally, children should be encouraged to assume more responsibility in the care of their pets and not leave the job entirely to Mom and Dad. Just reflect on your younger years when you were given an adorable pet as a gift or just because you fussed and pleaded until you got one. The truth is:

Kids' pets somehow became Mom's or Dad's responsibility ... and they still do!

Our thinking: More involvement in pet care leads to more respect and better integration of pets into family life. Fewer pets will be abused or abandoned once they become members of the family.

After all, would you dump your sister, brother or child on the side of the road and drive away?

Prior to my getting "floxed" by a dreadful antibiotic, our family business challenged itself to develop a simple way to educate and encourage kids to take an active role in the care of their pets.

We created a way to encourage kids to be more involved with their pets from the get-go and developed a neat "Pet Responsibility" product line for children.

Right before I started to have acute adverse drug reactions, we submitted our Pet Responsibility Line to a Sanctuary that took in Michael Vick's battered dogs - "Best Friends Society" in Utah. They snapped up our items at first glance and we are so very proud to be associated with them.

And, as luck would have it, the items were also featured as best new picks in two top National Magazines, Veterinary Practice News and Dog Fancy.

Then, my rotator cuffs ruptured and I was in a fireball of intense pain, seizures and insomnia.

In my dreams, under the sedation of my many meds, I picture Lenore and Myrtle happily romping through fields of tall green grass—without any pain and completely at peace.  And sometimes I day-dream that our Pet Responsibility items are teaching kids to respect and care for their pets on a daily basis, so that we never have "battered or abandoned" pets again.

To bring an end to battered and abandoned pets, I need your help. I can't do it alone ... especially in my current physical state. So, please help me spread the message.