Thursday, November 17, 2016

To dog or not to dog? -That is the question.

As I was cleaning out our cat's litter box just now I was trying really hard not to dry heave. The smell literally sickens me as I scoop the poop into the garbage can turd by little turd. But what's worse is when I ignore the litter box for weeks at a time and the smell starts to permeate throughout my entire house. I never in a gazillion years wanted to be one of those people that neglected litter boxes and made my house smell like animal feces and wet animal hair. I just can't live like that, yet it still happens from time to time.

So I was thinking about how much my 6 year old son loves this cat and the fun story about how we found him as a kitten in the bushes and started thinking and wondering if I would've kept him had I known what animals were capable of?

For example, If I had known that this cat was going wake us up every night by purring on our faces and scratching at our beds would we have kept him? 
If I had known he was going to escape out the front door most nights and then come MEOWing really loudly at our bedroom windows at 2am would we have kept him? 
If I had known he would develop a disgusting habit of peeing on our bathroom towels if they are left on the floor would we have kept him? 
If I had known that this past winter he was going to stop using his litter box downstairs and start sneakily urinating behind the guest bed upstairs until the entire house wreaked of cat pee causing me to spend hours trying to clean it and now we probably have to rip out the carpets in that room, would we have kept him? 

The same situation goes with our two dogs. We have these two Border Collie dogs that we got for our boys three years ago, yet once the puppy stage was over they pretty much lost interest. Now I am the manager and  caretaker of these two dogs, and I didn't even want them in the first place! Gratefully we've gotten to the point where they finally feel like family, but boy oh boy- it took us awhile to get here.

So here we go again: If I had known these dogs were going to chew up everything in our backyard including our sprinkler heads and my summertime water bed and the side of the house, would we have gotten them? 
If I had known that one of them could easily scale over our high fences, escape constantly, and spend time at the local animal shelter costing us pricey extraction fees, would we have gotten them? 
If I had known they would get ticks and fleas and require expensive treatments, would we have gotten them? 
If I had known that one of them would have to to be kept on a dog runner all his life because of his Houdini-escape-techniques, would we have gotten them?
 If I'd have known that they were terrified of fire works and would either escape the backyard, run away, or break through the downstairs glass window to get into the house and therefore keep us from ever planning any vacations around the 4th, would we have gotten them? 
Would we have gotten them if I'd have known my boys aren't that interested in playing with dogs, walking dogs, or spending time with dogs? 
Would we have gotten them if I'd have known that picking up dog poop makes my kids sick to their stomachs and nearly vomit and my husband is too busy with work making it my responsibility to pick up the dog poop? 
Would we have gotten them had we realized the expenses of their dog food cost us about $250 per year? (Money we could use towards our children's needs?) 

Would we still have gotten them?? 

These are the questions running through my mind as I'm frequently chasing our eagerly escaped dogs down the street or scooping cat litter for the tenth time this month, and the answer in my head always comes back NOAbsolutely, positively NO we would not have gotten these animals to be our pets if we had known all the future consequences of our decision to take them in. 
Do we love them? Yes. Do we enjoy their adorable antics and fun behaviors? Yes. Do we appreciate their innocence and vulnerability to be completely dependent on us humans to feed them and care for them each day of their lives? Yes. Do we have fun taking them on frequent hikes and walks and explorations in the wilderness? Yes!
But seriously, that's about as far as it goes because I am not a furry pet person, and come to find out, neither is my family. Therefore, the fact that we continue to keep these animals and care for them is more a sign of our loyalty to the responsibility we signed up for and duty to these little souls who are dependent on us, not because we can't imagine our lives without them. (Because boy oh boy I can certainly imagine my life without them and it's kinda nice.)

Now animal lovers don't get me wrong, I don't hate my furry pets, I just don't believe that everyone in the world gets the same satisfaction out of keeping and befriending animals. I am really happy we got to rescue those kittens and that my six year old has such a sweet bond with his cat. This cat is going to be a really sweet love story he can remember all of his life and I'm glad we got to do it. And when I look at our doggies I know in my heart that they are ours to love. 
But, I won't do it again. In fact, these are the last furry mammals we will probably ever own.

And I just realized that this post really has no point to it other than me feeling the need to vent that I am not really an animal person.  So here's a picture of a dog guarding his waffle: 

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