(Contributed)                                Magdalena Romanow at Katie’s Place.

(Contributed) Magdalena Romanow at Katie’s Place.

Pets: Don’t call me ‘baby’

Tears mean nothing handing over frightened, confused animal whose world is being torn apart.

This has been a summer we won’t soon forget – fires, floods, and hurricanes, people misplaced, homes gone, and animals lost.

It’s the kind of thing that brings out the best in human nature, and also the worst.

While someone is risking their life to rescue a stranger’s horse, others are looting their neighbour’s store.

Not only do we see it on the news, but we also live it through social media. We’ve sobbed in sadness at images of dogs tied up to trees while flood waters rose to swallow them up, and we’ve cried tears of joy at images of big, burly men rescuing possums from flooded forests.

Among other things, the recent events have really opened up the discussion about the role animals play in our lives.

Facebook is full of heated debates between those who swear they would remain with their animals no matter what, and those who think doing that for an animal is insanity.

I’m sure most people have a firm stance in this debate. They know what they would do in an emergency.

I know where I stand, but that’s not the point.

All these discussions and debates made me think about our shelter, our animals, and the people who bring them to us.

Years ago, I believed that if someone said they loved their animals and they were like family, that meant that they were committed to that animal no matter what obstacles life threw in their way.

But as we all learn along the way, words are just that.

Yes, there are times when there is simply no alternative but to surrender your animal to a shelter. However, those times, in my opinion, are rare, and more often than not, they have to do with what’s best for the animal.

We have complete control over their lives. We choose them. We care for them. So if we are going to give them up, it needs to be in their best interest.

A cat left outside in the middle of the night with a note that says, ‘I love Fluffy, he was like my baby, but … ’ was not anyone’s baby.

He was a possession that was completely disposable. I feel no sympathy for a family that shows up sobbing with their ‘baby’ in a carrier. They want our approval, some sort of confirmation that what they are doing is OK. They want to be absolved of their actions. They don’t realize that, in our eyes, getting rid of your ‘baby’ because it peed on the bed, or scratched your new sofa, or attacked your new puppy, is not OK.

Please don’t expect sympathy or understanding. The tears mean nothing when you are handing over a carrier occupied by a small, frightened and confused animal whose world is being torn apart.

We are here to pick up the pieces when you abandon them, not to make you feel better about doing it.

We know not everyone feels about animals as we do. To some, they are a possession. A pet. Something that is great to have as long as it doesn’t cramp your lifestyle, or cause any trouble, or require any work.

Say that. Be honest. Don’t be offended that we don’t tell you how wonderful you are and how bad we feel for you. We don’t.

We feel bad for the animal that has just lost its home, not the human who’s responsible for it.

So as I sit and watch the news, and read the articles, and browse through social media and I see a 70-year-old man carrying his cat above his head because he himself is shoulder deep in flood water, I know where that man stands in this debate, without hearing him say a word.

The family in tears because they left Fido tied up on their porch with a bowl of food by his side, who are starting a Go Fund Me page to buy a new puppy for the kids, well, they won’t be getting my support.

Magdalena Romanow is a volunteer at Katie’s Place, an animal shelter in Maple Ridge.

Just Posted

Joseph Albert Brooks, 94-years-young pf Prince Rupert offers traditional prayers and smudging to the sick. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of our City: Joseph Albert Brooks keeps smudging and praying for others

94-year-old Tsimshian elder just wants some help washing his floors

Land along Prince Rupert’s waterfront, PID 012-247-391, where residents say excessive industrial train noise is stemming from, has been found to be owned by the City of Prince Rupert and is not federal land like first presented, Prince Rupert Environmental Society stated on June 17. (Image: supplied by Land Title and Survey, Govt. of BC.)
Error found on land titles map may assist city with noise control enforcement of industry

Prince Rupert residents had been told there was no municipal jurisdiction to enforce noise bylaws

Department of Oceans and Fisheries has announced as of July 19 chinook salmon is not to be fished in certain areas in BC tidal waters until July. Spring chinook salmon are seen swimming. (Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service)
Chinook Salmon limits set to zero in some BC tidal waters

DFO implement restrictions to protect Chinook Salmon

Visitors to a pop-up temporary aquarium in Prince Rupert will have the chance to see marine ecology from July 21 to Aug. 15, like this viewer watching sea anemones at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert pop-up aquarium will bring sea level to eye level in July

A permanent peak to reef ecology centre is in the planning stages by North Coast Ecology Society

Prince Rupert’s Ellen Wright and Graeme Dickens jam out during filming the two Ring System Studio concerts to be broadcast on television during June. (Photo: supplied, H. Cox)
Ring System Studio sounds on television

Two concerts by the Prince Rupert music school will be broadcast in June

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read