Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I've never understood why rescue groups in the New England area were hesitant to work with my husband and I when we were interested in adopting a dog. I didn't understand why his status as a Marine even remotely affected our ability to not only care for a dog, but love it to bits and pieces. Why wouldn't I bring my dog along wherever we ended up, international or otherwise? Why wouldn't I work through any behavioral issues that came up? Why wouldn't I be prepared to spend thousands of dollars on an emergency requiring surgery??

And then I moved to Bolling AFB, and every week ... I see animals that should be beloved pets listed on the For Sale facebook pages.

Who wants a golden retriever puppy? 12 weeks? It's too much for us to handle with our 6mo old baby.
Free: cat. Moving and cannot take with.
Needs a good home ... this cat. We cannot afford to take care of it.
Need to rehome our dog, bit my child.

Multiple postings, every week. From owners moving to not wishing to own pets. Owners not wishing to deal with behavioral issues. Owners simply not knowing any better. Sorry, you can't not walk a dog and expect it to be perfectly behaved all the time. And for the record, you think that advertising that your dog bit your child is going to help it get a new home? Aggression is a big-time liability and a huge risk to take a chance on. I hate hearing the phrase "Well, I'm not going to spend thousands of dollars in behavioral modification. It's just a dog."

A pet is not a fad like a pet rock or a lava lamp. It's not a toy to amuse your children with until the novelty wears out. It's not a training aid to instill responsibility in children. And it's definitely not unbreakable, behaviorally or otherwise.

Sometimes, things happen in life and it becomes best for the animal to find a new home. But if this is your beloved pet, are you really going to give it away to the first person that knocks on your door? Don't you think you owe it to your pet to thoroughly interview a potential family? Turn a few down if it's not a perfect forever-home match?  I can understand wanting to rehome the dog because it bit your child, but I have to wonder about why the child was bitten to begin with? Did it pull the dog's ears? Pinch him accidentally? Try and grab his food bowl? I don't think I've ever heard of a dog biting a child simply because the mood struck.

Just last week, someone was telling me that a wife was getting divorced and asked a friend to hold babysit their dog while they get settled into a new living situation off-base. The owner never came back to reclaim her dog and told the friend to find it a new home. New friend did so. Less than 3 months later, the dog was back up on the facebook page looking for a new home.

I just don't understand, why are pets so disposable, especially in the military community? In my house, our pets are considered family members. I'd walk through the seven circles of Hell and back again for either of them. We have a bad rap, military spouses. And I don't know how I can advocate a change.


  1. Aw, I've never been much of an animal person, but I got my boyfriend a puppy for his birthday just this past Saturday (he's been talking about getting one for 4 years). I can't even imagine just giving him away even after just four days.

  2. This is something I hate about the military community. I was in the same boat, I didn't understand at all why being military effected anything when it came to owning a pet. But, I understand now. I'm surprised rescue organizations will even meet with military families, which is sad and unfair. But, these people are awful! The one that makes me want to punch someone is they are getting rid of their lab, golden, corgi, whatever because they shed too much. OMG are they serious?!?! How do you get a dog without doing any research? How do they not know dogs shed? One of the guys and his wife that my husband works with went through 3 dogs in 8 months. Three freaking dogs. That should be illegal. He deployed, came back a couple months ago and they just bought their 4th. It makes me sick.

  3. It's really bad here overseas, especially when people are preparing to leave. There's a lot they have to do and sometimes things get screwed up and they can't take them. I would refuse to leave without my cats though. It's so sad.

  4. I don't think people think things through. We adopted a cat instead of a dog for now because it fits with our lifestyle, now and in the future. I think military families take the attitude of "I'll deal with it when it happens." When they are forced to move, they are so in over their heads with everything else that the animal becomes disposable. Also, some behavior is extremely overwhelming, but it should be handled in a responsible fashion as opposed to those ads you mentioned. We had a German Shepard from the time he was a small puppy to just under a year old. Despite rigorous training, he was vicious and dangerous to any visitors even though he was so loving to us. We loved him so we wanted a safe home for him. We gave him to the state prison. He ended up the most feared dog in the prison. Responsible pet owners can tell the difference between modifiable behavior and something that may never change. If you truly love the animal, you can find a good home.

  5. I think a lot of people have the attitude of "I want what I want," and their thinking stops there. I want a lot of things, including a dog, too, but not everything fits my lifestyle right now. If you can't make the 15+ year commitment or think you will not love your pet enough and be able to give it up for one reason or another - don't get it. It is as simple as that. Everyone knows pets shed, most of them at least, cost money, some more than others, and need time, training and patience. You can't provide that? You shouldn't get an a pet, no matter what kind. I love when people say "my new apartment/house isn't pet friendly" -- how about moving somewhere else? I would NEVER leave my pet in order to move into a certain apartment/house. Not in a million years. I despise people who will not go above and beyond for their pet, because that is what they deserve and the promise we, as pet owners, make to them the minute we buy or adopt them.

  6. Fort Drum's Craigslist will make your blood boil. You'll see ads for people "looking for a little dog to play with, no trouble" to those who took on pets and new babies. I had a lady put her dog up for adoption because I wouldn't watch him. He was a huge dog who spent a trial night in my house. She said he didn't go up stairs or pee in the house. He went up stairs, peed on the bed, and got himself locked in a small storage room! And she put him up because I wouldn't take that on. Atrocious. All the hoops are necessary and I didn't mind going through them. I proved that I could handle it.