Readers! Yes, this is one of my “pet” topics — the way “I care!” can morph into “No one else cares as much as I do,” which can curdle into “I’m the only one who cares enough!” (See, for instance, “Did Being a Helicopter Parent Doom My Marriage (and Kids.”)
But I also love this letter because it’s a great example of Worst-First thinking: Oh, you want a pet? What if you’re an abusive pet owner?
That outlook wastes a lot of kindness. – L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I never drew the line between helicopter parenting and the behavior of many animal rescue places and some pet owners, but I cannot agree too emphatically.
A few years ago I went looking for a cat, and being the hipster helper lass that I am, thought that going to a no-kill shelter would be the responsible, altruistic thing to do. I was an animal lover connecting with other animal lovers.
Perish the thought.
What I was — in their eyes — was a potential animal abuser. I completely get that these folks see humanity at it’s worst, and get jaded, but they were … hostile, suspicious, and knew much, much better than I.
One on application, I was asked, if I had a conflict between a new baby and I pet, what would I do? Get rid of the child was what was clearly asked for. I believe I wrote, “Unless I came home and actually found the cat holding a pillow over my infant’s face, I think we could probably find a solution.” Oddly, did not hear back from those folks. I didn’t understand then how an animal could be cooped up for TWO YEARS in a cage waiting for an adoption, getting sick along the way, but I certainly do now.
I got one of my kitties from a high-kill shelter and the last, my dog, from a person from Craigslist, because I find it offensive and over-reaching that someone wants to paw through my life and then … only provisionally adopt a pet out to me. I don’t think it makes pets safer. I think it just gives some of the people a high….
I have two cats and a fat little puggle, all taken care of reasonably well, not getting the Cadillac of health care (but neither am I), but being loved, getting exercised (we all walk out together) and seemingly content. – Hipster Helper Gal