Yesterday I received my usual, weekly e-newsletter from the ASPCA. One of the articles provided the top five poisons that pet owners had called them about in 2012. I must say I was not surprised by any of them — I’ve tried to keep myself knowledgeable about such issues over the years — but I was appalled by some of the comments that were posted.
Let me say up front that I did NOT read all of the comments — there were simply too many — but at least half of those that I did read were peppered with disrespect, name-calling, and a lack of any compassion whatsoever. For example, one person in particular complained about the cost of a phone call to the ASPCA’s pet poison help line ($65). This one complaint launched a myriad of responses.
Before I forget to mention this, one person did actually provide a few alternative, less expensive ways of getting emergency advice. One I know of personally is the Pet Poison Helpline — the phone number for it is 1-800-213-6680 — the cost for which is $39 per incident.
What bothers me about the majority of the responses is the lack of compassion for fellow humans and their pets. Whether the responders agreed with the cost or not, the tone of the responses was mostly — for lack of a better word — ugly. One person commented quite cruelly, in my opinion at least, that anyone who can’t afford a $65 phone call simply should not have a pet, period, end of discussion. No evidence of understanding that sometimes we all have financial difficulties that force us to make heart wrenching decisions. No evidence of understanding that accidents happen for which we could not possibly have been prepared.
One thoughtful person commented that there ought to be social programs to help seniors, the disabled, and the poor keep their pets that they love as deeply as they do human family members. (Many seniors would have no companion at all were it not for their beloved pets.) More ugly responses. A second individual repeated the opinion that folks living on limited incomes should not be allowed to have pets! That comment really ticked me off, and in fact was what started me writing this blog post.
What is wrong with some people that they can be so utterly lacking of compassion for others?! Have they never had a pet that they loved so deeply? Were they emotionally abused as children? God only knows. In a way I feel more sorry for them than for the folks they berate and belittle with their comments.
I, for one, would rather go without food than deprive my dogs of their basic needs. Thankfully, we were able to pay for Callie’s surgery a few weeks ago without going into debt; but if we had had to, we’d have borrowed the money. But what would I do if I weren’t fortunate enough to even be able to borrow the money? What would I do if I’d already exhausted all means I’d ever had? I honestly don’t know. I don’t believe any of us really know what we would do under such dire circumstances. So, I for one, will never tell someone struggling through life to give up their beloved pet(s). I would prefer to find a way to help them keep their pet.
Okay, enough of my soapbox for one day. I welcome your comments as long as they are respectful and compassionate, even if you disagree with me. Any and all comments that use profanity or are otherwise disrespectful to me or other readers/responders WILL be treated as spam and deleted. And, yes, the decision of the judge (me) will be final.