These animals need homes too - and it's not fair to simply euthanize them just because they present a few more complications (provided that they can live an otherwise happy, pain-free life.) I firmly believe that if we as a society let companion animals "happen" due to our lack of spaying or neutering, then we as a society are responsible to find them good homes, even the ones that are a bit more of a challenge.
I've always felt that way on a theoretical level, but I freely admit that I was a little more wishy-washy when it came to MYSELF, and to the idea of ME adopting a special-needs animal. "That's too hard," I'd think. "Those animals need someone who doesn't work outside of the home to be with them." Or, "I don't have the time to do that." And these are legitimate concerns for some people - I am not trying to judge anyone who has made a different decision.
And then came Charlotte. I didn't know that she was going to be a special-needs pet before I got her. My guess is that if someone told me from the beginning that I would need to medicate her twice a day, every day for the rest of her life, that I would have decided against adopting her. However, a few months after her adoption came the diagnosis for congestive heart failure. I was attached to her by then. When we were told that we could keep her alive and in comfort for at least a little while if we were willing to give her medication, we never even thought twice about it.
And I realized something. It is not that bad. It just becomes part of your routine, right along with feeding the animals, brushing your teeth, scooping the litter box, taking the dog out. Forgetful? I am too - we have alarms on our phones to remind us when we need to give out medication.
The only difficulty that arises is a minor one - it's difficult to spontaneously go out of town for an overnight trip. We have to carefully plan for leaving town - usually arranging for Jeff's mom to come over and feed, water, and dole out meds, but we could board her at the local boarding kennel if need be. But really, is it that much different than having other, less needy animals? We could never leave Argos unattended in the house for that long either, and would have to make special arrangements for him as well.
The purpose of this post is not to point out how great and selfless I am, because I'm no different than anyone else. The purpose is to suggest that adopting a special-needs animal may sound daunting, but if you have it in your heart to be that animal parent, it's doable. I know that Charlotte is probably easy compared to some special-needs animals. And you definitely have to do this responsibly instead of just responding to an emotional plea - if you truly, truly do not have the time or resources to do something like this, then of course it isn't the best option for you. But I'm guessing that a great many of us could take one in with little or no "ripples" throughout the household.
I know people who have diabetic cats that must receive insulin. People whose dog needs seizure medication daily. People who keep semi-feral cats, even though they'll never be completely socialized, just to give them a place to be, and to let them live out their days in comfort. People who adopted an elderly, toothless greyhound who was dumped with my rescue group when she got to be too inconvenient for her previous owners' "lifestyle." And the funny thing is - not one of them regrets their decision to take on one of these animals.
So if you can, I highly recommend it. Oh, and so does Charlotte.
|Adopt a special needs cat and you might get one as awesome as me!|