(Contributed) Magdalena Romanow at Katie’s Place.

Pets: Don’t call me ‘baby’

Tears mean nothing handing over frightened, confused animal whose world is being torn apart.

This has been a summer we won’t soon forget – fires, floods, and hurricanes, people misplaced, homes gone, and animals lost.

It’s the kind of thing that brings out the best in human nature, and also the worst.

While someone is risking their life to rescue a stranger’s horse, others are looting their neighbour’s store.

Not only do we see it on the news, but we also live it through social media. We’ve sobbed in sadness at images of dogs tied up to trees while flood waters rose to swallow them up, and we’ve cried tears of joy at images of big, burly men rescuing possums from flooded forests.

Among other things, the recent events have really opened up the discussion about the role animals play in our lives.

Facebook is full of heated debates between those who swear they would remain with their animals no matter what, and those who think doing that for an animal is insanity.

I’m sure most people have a firm stance in this debate. They know what they would do in an emergency.

I know where I stand, but that’s not the point.

All these discussions and debates made me think about our shelter, our animals, and the people who bring them to us.

Years ago, I believed that if someone said they loved their animals and they were like family, that meant that they were committed to that animal no matter what obstacles life threw in their way.

But as we all learn along the way, words are just that.

Yes, there are times when there is simply no alternative but to surrender your animal to a shelter. However, those times, in my opinion, are rare, and more often than not, they have to do with what’s best for the animal.

We have complete control over their lives. We choose them. We care for them. So if we are going to give them up, it needs to be in their best interest.

A cat left outside in the middle of the night with a note that says, ‘I love Fluffy, he was like my baby, but … ’ was not anyone’s baby.

He was a possession that was completely disposable. I feel no sympathy for a family that shows up sobbing with their ‘baby’ in a carrier. They want our approval, some sort of confirmation that what they are doing is OK. They want to be absolved of their actions. They don’t realize that, in our eyes, getting rid of your ‘baby’ because it peed on the bed, or scratched your new sofa, or attacked your new puppy, is not OK.

Please don’t expect sympathy or understanding. The tears mean nothing when you are handing over a carrier occupied by a small, frightened and confused animal whose world is being torn apart.

We are here to pick up the pieces when you abandon them, not to make you feel better about doing it.

We know not everyone feels about animals as we do. To some, they are a possession. A pet. Something that is great to have as long as it doesn’t cramp your lifestyle, or cause any trouble, or require any work.

Say that. Be honest. Don’t be offended that we don’t tell you how wonderful you are and how bad we feel for you. We don’t.

We feel bad for the animal that has just lost its home, not the human who’s responsible for it.

So as I sit and watch the news, and read the articles, and browse through social media and I see a 70-year-old man carrying his cat above his head because he himself is shoulder deep in flood water, I know where that man stands in this debate, without hearing him say a word.

The family in tears because they left Fido tied up on their porch with a bowl of food by his side, who are starting a Go Fund Me page to buy a new puppy for the kids, well, they won’t be getting my support.

Magdalena Romanow is a volunteer at Katie’s Place, an animal shelter in Maple Ridge.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

City hall, RCMP getting complaints about lack of physical distancing

So far, there’s no public health order to enforce the safety measure

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Uplands Elementary students get chance to wave at teachers

Students haven’t seen teachers in nearly 3 weeks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read