A Promise Is Not Negotiable To A Pet.

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The Promise ~ You And Me Forever.
Author Unknown

In an earlier post, I talked about the “It” factor — that moment that can sometimes happen in pet owners’ lives when they stop calling their beloved pet by its name and start calling the pet “It.” That moment when they begin to shift away from their bonds with the pet and instead start planning a future with the pet no longer in it. Here I’ll talk about several scenarios that way too often threaten pet owners’ commitment to their pets, and suggest ways to overcome those feelings and how to push through to keep your commitment to your pet–that promise of a lifetime together. Remember back to the beginning–you made a promise to your pet–you and me forever? Don’t lose sight of that promise when the bonds are tried.

If or when that commitment is tested, here are some tips to help you stay on track and stay committed to your promise to that pet who loves and trusts you and has total faith that your love is in fact everlasting and will never betray him. He knows in his heart you would never ever ever leave him behind. Let’s honor that absolute faith he has in you.

Betrayal Is Not An Option.

A promise is a promise–it stands the test of time. Forever–not just when it’s convenient. Are you true to your word? Is your love unwaivering? Let’s say your pet could understand your words–do you think he’d nod in agreement when you explained to him why you’re leaving him behind? Truth is, he wouldn’t be able to take it, not for a minute. Animals are capable of unbreakable bonds that I don’t think humans can even grasp. We give up when things get uncomfortable–animals are in it for the long haul. We could learn a lot from them about unconditional love.

“My New Fiance Doesn’t Like Animals.”

This is an issue that requires you to look ahead and plan accordingly. If your pet is your family, your sidekick, and you can’t imagine life without him, then don’t lose sight of that when you start dating. It’s on you to make sure a new person knows that you and your pet are a package deal. She needs to be in agreement with that all the way, no hesitation. If you sense that she’s just tolerating your pet even a little, then you’ll be smart to reevaluate a long-term commitment with that person.

Because there’s a good chance once the vows have been spoken, you may then find out she has other plans for the pet’s future with you. Now you’ve invited a contentious standoff between you and the new spouse, and guess where that leaves your beloved pet?  Probably at the shelter. Wrong and unfair. But sadly, too common. Don’t be the one who breaks his word and his pet’s heart because you let someone come between you and talk you out of your commitment to your devoted and loyal pet, who’s been by your side all along, the last one in your life who deserves to be let down.

Be sure to have the hard conversation before any commitments are made. Be sure you both are very clear about your intentions for the pet. Don’t leave any questions unasked or unanswered. Your pet’s future with you depends on it. And also think of this–it takes a very selfish person to split up a pet from its owner. If someone expects you to walk away from your pet for them, what else might they take from you?

“We’re Moving.”

There was a time when that excuse might have been acceptable, since few landlords allowed pets “back in the day.” But those days are gone, and it’s easy now to find rentals that accept pets. As with other situations, plan ahead. Give yourself time to start the search to make sure you’re prepared when the move comes. If you do find yourself running out of time, make arrangements for your pet to stay temporarily with a friend or relative. You can go on ahead and squat in temporary digs to get started in your new job, in the meantime continuing your search for a pet-friendly home. Once you secure your new rental, go back and get your beloved pet to come join you and continue on with you in your new life chapter. Happy Happy Joy Joy!

If your issue is with the size of the pet deposit and/or a higher monthly rent payment, then same approach. plan ahead by saving extra so you can cover that cost when the time comes to move. Don’t let it sneak up and surprise you, and then use that as your excuse to unload the pet. You’ll be called foul on that move for sure. Planning ahead is usually all that’s needed to keep your whole family intact.

“I Don’t Have Time For It Anymore.”

I can start this discussion off by saying simply “you’re as busy as you want to be.” If you work long hours now and Fido finds himself sitting at the door waiting for you with a tennis ball in his mouth more and more often, then you’ve chosen a lifestyle without considering his needs. Good time to take stock of how well or how poorly you’re managing your time. If the extra hours at work are temporary, for a few weeks or months, then have a relative or friend come to your house each day to walk him, run him, play with him, love on him, all those things he’s missing with you.

If no family or friends are available, then hire a dog walker, or drop him off at doggy daycare. If you can’t afford doggy daycare every day, start off with every other day. You’re his ultimate guardian and caregiver. If you cannot fulfill that role for any period of time, it’s still on you to see that his needs are being met. He’s not a ceramic knick knack you can put on a shelf and ignore, without consequences for both you and him. Think outside the box. Whatever it takes to make sure he doesn’t become the forgotten member of your family. Remember — if you choose to start ignoring his need for daily interaction and exercise, he’ll start misbehaving out of boredom and pent-up energy. And it won’t be his fault — that’s just how nature works. And if he does start misbehaving, you’ll become frustrated and start justifying the thought of “getting rid” of him. See — you ended up sabotaging your own best outcome and his future. Think ahead, be diligent, keep his future with you in mind with a loving and protective heart.

“We’re Having A Baby.”

This is a really lame argument. A little understandable, but still lame. It’s normal for new parents to freak out with their first child. They feel the need to clear the plate so they can focus just on the new baby when it comes. I get it. But don’t flip out and make changes you can’t take back, like dumping your pet at the shelter, or banishing him to the backyard, or locking him away in a crate, no longer an intimate member of the family he loves. You do a great disservice to the baby and dog both by giving them no chance to know and love each other and to grow together. Dogs love babies. Babies love dogs. Keep your new-parent fears in check, and you’ll see. Pets and babies is a beautiful thing.

“It Won’t Listen To Me.”

You can prevent this excuse popping up down the road if you properly train your pet from the beginning. When you first adopt or rescue your pet, use your skills to teach the pet proper behavior so that down the road he doesn’t end up in the shelter because he barked too much or jumped up on you one too many times, or didn’t use the litterbox, etc. If he’s your first pet and you’re not familiar with training, then get both of you into classes from the get-go. You can find trainers everywhere for reasonable prices, or classes at Petsmart; and, if cost is an issue, there are even tons of training videos on youtube for free. Abandoning your pet because it wasn’t trained is NOT an acceptable excuse. It’s too easy to get him properly trained, unless you just don’t give it enough importance.  And, of course, we know that would never be the case.   🙂

Bottom Line ~ It’s On You.

The theme throughout this brief post is that, whatever the challenge, it’s on you, as your pet’s loving caregiver, to ensure that he is included in big family decisions and changes. Don’t lose sight of his place in the family. I know that big events are life-altering and frightening sometimes, but keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine. The pet should not be seen as a liability when life changes–that’s still the same pet you have loved and cherished all along. Don’t leave him behind anymore than you would leave one of your kids behind. Protect those bonds, protect his place in your home and family and life and heart. Think of this–if the tables were turned, your pet would never leave you. A promise is not negotiable to a pet.

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God Bless and Happy Pet Parenting!

With love and good wishes,
jeannie.   ?

About jeannie:  I’ve been pro-actively involved in pet rescue all of my life. I founded Milagro Senior Pet Refuge© (Phoenix) in 1998, and BareFootPets (TM) in 2008. Animal welfare has always been and will always be my heart’s work. If my only legacy is that I save a handful of precious souls that would not survive otherwise, I’m good with that.