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Saturday, November 30, 2013

You can't take it with you, pet edition

by Jamie Lutton

I wanted to write a end-of-the-year column for Capitol Hill. For urban Seattle residents in general.  I have noticed that most of us have pets instead of children. Our streets are filled with dogs and their owners out for walks, and I note that many, many people have pet cats, if they can. So I wanted to warn people, at the turn of the year, of a grave hazard to your beloved pets.. 

Do you trust your nearest of kin? Your friends? Do you trust, say, your roommates or even your spouse? Trust them to do right? Maybe you shouldn't.

A grim story came to my ears a few days ago. A man came in to my business with a flyer with pictures of a eleven year old cat on it that needed a home. He told  she was the cat of a friend of his, who had died unexpectedly at age 57, of a heart attack. 

Her brother and children came up from California and cleaned out her apartment, and were  going to drop this indoor  cat off onto the street, on a cold November day. But  he grabbed the cat, and is now trying to find a home for it.

The cat was very lucky the neighbor was so compassionate. It might not have made it though the night; and would have died under the wheels of a car, or of the cold, terrified, bewildered, in shock.

I have seen this sort of thing happen over and over. Elderly or middle aged cats -which are very hard to place ending up on the street or dropped off at a shelter.  I see this as I am making a bid on the deceased library, and the cat is sitting off in a corner, often with an overflowing cat-box in the apartment. Or I see this when I foster cats. Last year a fostered a pair of middle aged cats, siblings, whose owner died unexpectedly.

(I wish I could take in all these cats, but I do not make enough money to feed them all, and cats do not always get along with each other)

People don't think  they will ever die, especially in their fifties as in this case. Or they just don't think ahead. Or they think their immediate family will do the right thing.
Well, they don't. They often do the easy thing.

The family doesn't look at the pet and think 'this is the last living thing that is part of my sister/mother.  To honor her, I should take very good care of this pet'.  Sadly, this is not common.  The pet is  thrown out in the trash along with the rest of the possession that doe not have any monetary value. Often the relatives feel aggrieved about all the trouble they are being put to, having to 'deal with this mess' when they have to settle a relatives  estate on short notice.
They just don't care.

So, from one who knows. Beware!

I propose for their to be a form of insurance developed where the cat, casts or dogs would be the recipient. A form of life insurance.  And have veterinarians suggest it or even provide it for all their clients.

Also..even more likely...what if you end up in the hospital with no one to care for your pet? Your caretakers might just decide, for your own good, to quietly dispose of your pet or pets.

Even if you are hale and hearty, you could die from an illness and accident.  Or you could be out of work, and not be able to keep your apartment.  For example, the streets of Los Angles were suddenly flooded with chihuahuas  and other small dogs shortly after the Crash of 2008..The owners, suddenly out of work, were turning them loose in the streets by the hundreds and hundreds in '09, '10 and after. This kind of dog was very fashionable in the LA area: An acquaintance of mine was involved with a charity that was scooping them up off of the street, and bringing them to the Seattle area to find homes; having tiny dog adoption festivals
.
But many times, it was too late. LA  was littered with the corpses of tiny dogs that starved to death or were mauled by other dogs.

We read in the news about abused and abandoned pets, and think it will never happen to your darling pet.

So, if you know someone who lives alone and hs a pet, show this column to them, and urge them to make arrangements for their pet to be cared for, adopted, when you get sick or die suddenly.
Also, be the person who would take a kitty or dog in, for your friends in case of accident or death, and give the pet a good home.  

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