Pets are for life, not just for Christmas 4 years ago

Pets are for life, not just for Christmas

If you have a pet, good for you.

They're pretty class things to have in your life, after all.

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That being said, lots of people who have pets have been surrendering them lately, sending them back to the rehoming centres and shelters they came from.

Others have been abandoning them, mistreating them, and straight up neglecting them all since the end of the holiday season.

This week, Dogs Trust reported that they had received 186 requests to surrender dogs in the three weeks following Christmas.

186 families wanting to send dogs back to rehoming centres is a high enough number without even considering the sad fact that there's been a 22 percent increase in surrender requests since 2016.

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A particularly upsetting case came in the form of PJ the two-year-old Jack Russell terrier, who was abandoned at the Dogs Trust centre by his owner.

The charity described the dog as "distressed" and said he was lacking in confidence and social skills - most likely due to his treatment before he was cruelly left at the rehoming centre.

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And despite the likes of Dogs Trust and other animal charities such as the DSPCA encouraging people not to adopt animals unless they are absolutely certain, dogs are still getting surrendered and pets are still being abandoned.

It's understandable that in the lead up the festive season, adopting a pet may seem like a decent thing to do.

They're fun, they're cute, they're an incredible gift for anybody who's expressed a desire to have a fur-based friend in their life.

But animals are also a lot of work.

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They require a considerable amount of care and attention that, thankfully, so many families and individuals are willing, and able, to give them.

And yet at the same time, so many aren't.

If a pet is to be seen as an accessory as opposed to a living thing or even a member of the family, the pet won't be appropriately looked after.

Even smaller animals like rabbits and guinea pigs are often seen as 'easier' pets - they'll sit in a cage, eat some food, and be adorable on cue.

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And they will - but they'll also require attention, want to be played with, and need to feel like they haven't been abandoned.

Not dissimilar to the spike in dog adoptions in the lead up to the festive season, there tends to be a significant increase in rabbit adoptions before Easter.

They're taken, they're played with, and they're looked at for a while until children get bored, teenagers get enough Instas, and parents get sick of hearing tiny teeth nibble at cage bars they've been locked behind.

Rabbits are let loose into the wild, under the assumption that they'll be able to fend for themselves. Dogs are neglected, locked inside, and eventually dropped back to the rehoming centres they came from. Cats are left to roam the streets in the hope that some other family will unofficially take them on, one little dish of milk at a time.

PJ the Jack Russell terrier is getting the care he needs to get on with his life, but there are so many more pets who won't get that chance.

If you're unsure about getting a pet, maybe foster one for a while.

Look after a friends or a family members and see how it goes and, more importantly, see if you get bored.

And if you won't be able to look after a dog properly, just don't adopt one. Let someone else give that pet the care and attention they need.

PJ and all the rest of the lads will thank you in the long run.

Feature image via Dogs Trust.