To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, till death do us part!
Most of us have heard these four lines, many of us have uttered some form of them. With our significant others, these lines require us to stay together at least two years before we can be legally released from the union. With our furry friends, however, there is no law that sets out a specific period of time we must keep them in our lives.
To Have and to Hold
“Wouldn’t it be nice to get the kids, the partner, ourselves (insert special person here) a gorgeous little puppy or kitten for Christmas?”
“Imagine the surprise, tucked in a box or with a bow on the top of their head.”
“Just imagine the look on their face. They will be best friends forever!”
“How sweet, those lovely little puppy dog eyes and the cute little tail.”
And so the seed is planted, the pictures are looked at, the ideas are talked about, friend’s and family’s dogs are cuddled and decisions are made.
To Love and to Cherish
Puppy or kitten arrives, the cuddles are just amazing, everyone is besotted. Family photos are taken, everyone wants to be in charge of feeding and cuddling, walking and patting. You just can’t get enough of them. Who knew you could feel so much like every for such a small creature so soon? Seriously, have you ever seen something as cute as this? Never in my life! It’s like love I tell you, LOVE.
This is how it all starts. The first ideas of having a new puppy or kitten. Everything is just so very, very adorable. You have this brand new, maybe very sleepy little bundle of love. Probably, you have a lot of new things to go with the bundle of love and who doesn’t love new stuff if we are going to be completely honest. Time for reality to kick in, this adorable little bundle of love is completely dependent on you. He needs to be fed, needs fresh water – every day. He needs toilet training. He needs his toilet cleaned up (and you better know now, some of it really stinks!). He needs to have his little mind stimulated, needs to have his coat brushed and teeth cared for. He wakes up in the night, sometimes barking, sometimes howling. He needs to be let out early to go to the bathroom. He teeths and chew things – your things – sometimes your special things. He needs your love, your compassion and your consistency.
In Sickness and in Health
In an ideal world this wouldn’t happen, sadly life is cruel, our furry friends do sometimes get sick or injured. Not only is this heartbreaking, but it can be very costly. Vaccinations, speying and neutering. It all adds up. While having pet insurance definitely helps, being aware of what you may be in for and keeping money set aside for the ‘what ifs’ helps in those situations. It certainly helps what was once that adorable little bundle and is now your fully grown buddy lying there on the table needing help.
Till Death do us Part
Depending on the breed/animal – cat or dog you may have your adorable friend for up to twenty odd years. This is a major part of your life, this is ALL of their life. Decisions should be made before adding someone furry to your family:
- Will you be travelling?
- Will you be studying?
- Will having children change your feeling towards your adorable bundle of fur?
- Will you always have the time or the money?
Obviously there are so many other questions which follow along these lines. In older years, they will slow down, need more time to do things, a warm and comfy space and time to do their own thing. The day may come where you may need to sit at the vets with them and hold them tight with tears streaming down your face as they are assisted on their way to the big doggy or kitty field in the sky.
All of these things are things to be thought over. Take the time, think long and hard and don’t rush in.
I ask you this not just for your sake, nor just for the sake of the rescue centres who are already overflowing but will have their usual massive influx of animals in the new year, but for the animals caught in this too. The animals who settle into a home, feeling loved and wanted, warm and fed, only to be found too much trouble, too difficult, too old, not small enough, too noisy, not my style, just not cute enough or any of the other reasons rolled up every year.
I ask you, before you take this animal home and into your lives:
Can you love this puppy or kitten for more than a week, a month, a year?
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