“That Doggie in the Window”—Is It for You?
“HOW much is that doggie in the window?” asks a popular song of the 1950’s, “the one with the waggly tail.” Cute little balls of fur scampering playfully in pet shops turn hearts soft. Those lovable little faces and pleading eyes are unmistakably saying, “Please take me home with you.” Window-shoppers find them so irresistible that on impulse they buy “the one with the waggly tail.”
In addition to ‘that one in the window,’ there are also those strange varieties brought home by children—breeds not even an expert can identify. The wide-eyed, excited child displays the helpless creature to parents and announces: “Look what followed me home! Can we keep it?” Without the heart to say no, the parents allow the dog to become a member of the family.
Often, however, there is a sad postscript to this. In a year or two the animal is driven to another part of town and dumped—the owner likes to think some family in the area will adopt it. Or it may be pushed from the car along a country roadside, to join the ever-increasing ranks of starving strays.
Such calloused cruelties frequently occur around vacation time, when the family will be away from home. Reports from France claim that 300,000 dogs are abandoned in that country every August. It is estimated that in Italy a million dogs are abandoned every vacation season. The president of the Italian Society for the Protection of Animals said: “Italians tend to take their pets for granted. Often they are acquired only for the children, like a new toy, to keep them happy. The parents have no feeling for the pets. Thus, when vacation season comes, it is a good time to get rid of unwelcome guests because the children’s minds are on the holiday.”
Some owners reason that their unwanted pets will receive a good home if they deposit them at the nearest animal shelter. This is wishful thinking, as the following report shows: “The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) learned in a recent survey that 15 to 17 million cats and dogs were turned in to the nation’s animal shelters in 1973. Of that number, a shocking 13.5 million were put to death!”
In England the figures available show that 55 percent of the dogs brought in to humane shelters there were destroyed, 73 percent in Toronto, and 83 percent in New York. One expert comments: “Private and public animal shelters, along with veterinarians, spend more time killing animals than they do protecting them. They have become dealers in death.”
Dogs and cats reproduce at explosive rates—two to three thousand are born every hour in the United States, according to some estimates. The figure could easily climb to ten thousand if strays are included, some claim. One member of the Atlanta Humane Society said: “It’s literally raining cats and dogs!” A solution would be to have your pet neutered. But some reject this, saying they want their children to see the miracle of birth.
The animals pay dearly for the child’s lesson. “Perhaps,” the Atlanta Humane Society says, “children should witness the other end as well—the finality of death in a pound or shelter because there just are not enough homes to go around. Only one out of six puppies actually gets a home and for cats the rate is one out of twelve.”
The pet population is exploding. It needs to be defused. It can be and it should be, for the good of the innocent and helpless victims.