I was invited by a much senior batch from my BSchool to attend a welcome party for a gentleman who had just moved into town. I am quite fond of a few from the group and meeting more is always fun. Learning and networking being the add-ons. The invitation call informed me there are pet lovers in the group you will be introduced to, so it will be a good conversation. I’m a sucker for pet talk and despite the impromptu invitation I reached to make nice. What wasn’t shared was that it was a match making attempt as well.
Before I could settle down, the gentleman in question had declared that he was single and for emotional needs he wanted to get himself a dog. However, given that he travels for more than twenty days of the month and more in peak season for his business, he would want to know a good breed and how PawPurrfect could help him with dog sitting and dog boarding as needed. He thought launching into courtship via talking about being emotional and needing a pet was a smart move.
To my mind, there was no simpler answer than to tell him, don’t get a dog. It is not a toy. You can’t have him around for a few days as convenient and then pass him around boarders and sitters for most of the month. He thought that I was being inconsiderate of his need for affection and that he could definitely buy a pedigree dog and give him good care. He would not consider an older dog off the street who needed a home. He wanted the full experience of a puppy whose care would however be largely taken care of by organizations such as ours.
A grown man wanted a pet as a toy to satisfy his needs without considering those of the other person, in this case a puppy. Given the ease with which he saw using a pet as a means to a narrow end, it was pretty much the end of us getting to know each other. I was a good girl though and was very polite. Discretion is the better part of valour.
My team is empowered to say no to business. It is always pets before people. We get a lot of calls from folk looking to buy or adopt and we guide them, though we don’t sell pets or actively help in adoptions as a matter of business. I know that my team would have advised the same thing as me. A dog or cat is not a stuffed toy. They are family members who need your active time and significant amounts of it.
A pet needs to feel that it is part of the family in day-to-day activities. It needs to be engaged, spoken to, petted, played with actively and allowed into most parts of the home. It is best to imagine it like a child which is about two years old, though a bit more responsible and has learnt some discipline. Its preference and conveniences need to be considered when the family plans any outings and trips. Shyness with strangers and separation anxiety can be debilitating for a pet. Considerations need to be made for time alone in the house or left with outside care providers.
The repercussions of neglecting a pet is attention seeking behaviour, destructiveness, depression or ill health. It is the same as any child in a similar situation. The pet might also never feel as part of the family and hence all the affection which is sought as if on tap will never be forthcoming, making the effort of getting a pet futile.
This is true even for cats. Evolution might not have given them as expressive features and manners as those of dogs however they feel as deeply as a dog. It’s best to imagine the quieter ones like a shy child. They have a lot of love to give but not enough ways to express them.
The bottom line is that if the time commitment can’t be made, it’s best to not get a pet.