Saturday, April 4, 2009

Why do you expect me to take much more care with my dog that’s in heat than my neighbor does of her sixteen year old daughter?
My dog is in heat. She’s sticking her swollen, throbbing vejayjay (like that? I stole it from Grey’s Anatomy) in our other dog’s (also a female) face. I’ve seen her trying to temp the cat, at least he’s male. She’s so desperate to get laid. Of course, as a conscientious pet-mom, I am making sure she doesn’t wantonly breed with any male that will have her.
Yesterday, I saw a TV ad to spay or neuter your pets. You’ve seen those dozens, hundreds, even thousands of times. Have you ever seen these ads and thought, “Hey that’s a horrible idea? How can you take that poor bitch’s right to chose from her?” No, I’d venture you never have. I haven’t either. You probably thought to yourself, “Hey, that’s a really good idea, very responsible dog-parenting.” Because, after all, we have too many strays running around, abandoned by their owners and their communities. A quick Google search, brought up numerous articles, blogs and op-eds on the topic of mandatory spay/neuter programs. As a rule, people who work in animal shelters complain of irresponsible pet owners who allow their animals to have unwanted litters and end up in these shelters. Cities across the nation have instituted 100% spay/neutering laws or are considering them. Reports indicate drastic decreases in unwanted animal populations since San Francisco instituted its law.
I’m still not going to have my dog spade. Why do we assume the only way to keep a dog or cat from having unwanted offspring is to spay or neuter? Why not institute a hefty fine for people who do not ensure their pets remain celibate? Why not run dozens, hundreds, even thousands of ads imploring people to not let their animals breed randomly? Where is the human responsibility in all this?
My idea of being a responsible pet owner is to keep vigilant eye on my little girl the entire time she’s in heat. For those two miserable weeks, two or three times a year, I’ll let her out of the house only when necessary, in our fenced back yard and never without me here to watch her. Through this attentiveness, I will ensure that she doesn’t run out of the fence and does not invite unwanted males in to play. I am 100% certain I can prevent her from ever having an unwanted litter of little bastard puppies through my constant vigilance.
In a recent blog over the controversy in Chicago to legally mandate pet neutering one writer opined – “No pet "needs" to reproduce to live a long and healthy life. In fact, with both dogs and cats, many undesirable behaviors go away when they are neutered or spayed. Most animal shelters offer low to no fee neuter/spay and often the animal is fully recovered in a day or two.”
But alas, my little bitch is only a small part of my frustration. My real anger comes from that fact that I take far better care of my dog than my neighbor does her teenage daughter. Not only is she allowed to breed wantonly, but her mother has allowed the sixteen year old girl’s twenty-three year old boyfriend to move into their home, into her daughter’s bedroom. Rumor and speculation, this is not. She told me outright. She showed no hint of moral dilemma over the situation despite teaching Sunday School each week at a very orthodox Christian church. Why am I careful whom I admit I’ve not had my dog spade when it’s perfectly acceptable in today’s society to all our young daughters to run around randy and unsupervised? Why does society look at me and “tsk, tsk” my pet-parenting and not a soul will stand up to this woman and protest her situation? Honestly, I didn’t say a word to her. I hoped my face projected a somewhat stern disapproval that remained unspoken as I told her we didn’t even allow our adult daughter’s fiancé of three years to sleep in her room.
In this particular case, I believe the single mother of four is trying too hard to not “lose” her daughter. Her eldest child, a son, is now married and doesn’t speak to her. According to her, he feels his mother was a bad parent and therefore he wants nothing to do with her. Her fear of losing her three other children, guilt over marrying the wrong men, guilt over not giving them a stable home, frustration at their low standard of living or other things I can’t even imagine may play into her decision. Her reasons are superfluous though.
If our parents and grandparents are to be believed, this poor mother’s family, friends and acquaintances would have pointed out the errors in her moral judgment in times so not long past. Today, we consider it nosy and judgmental to voice an opinion.
Where is the outrage that 40% of births last year were out of wedlock? Where are the crusaders, arguing to have all teenage girls and boys “fixed”? Am I being absurd? I’m sure most of you think so but think about it.
On the August 19 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz described "single mothers receiving public assistance" as "welfare broodmares." Boortz made the comment while discussing a report that women in Georgia who received public assistance gave birth at more than three times the rate of women who did not receive public assistance, according to 2006 U.S. Census Bureau figures.
From another article – “Typical is the view expressed by a Brooklyn woman in a recent letter to The New York Times: ‘Let's stop moralizing or blaming single parents and unwed mothers, and give them the respect they have earned and the support they deserve.’”
While the children of these children are not often given up in the same fashion as a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens, they are a huge burden on society. Children of unwed mothers are disproportionately on public assistance, are far more likely to spend their lives in poverty, have an elevated risk of emotional and/or behavioral problems, drop out of school far more often, use drugs and themselves give birth out of wedlock at far higher rates than children of two parent homes. The cost of the societal ills caused by out of wedlock births is astronomically higher than running animal shelters.
Why is it then completely acceptable to expect me to take better care with my dog than my neighbor does with her child? Why is it not only acceptable but DESIRABLE in our society, for people to gently remind me to be a good pet owner and take my dog to the vet? Maybe it’s just me, but I see a huge problem here.
And don’t even get me started on the way we treat our terminally ill versus a pet at the end of his/her life!

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