Trading Up

I have an idea! It’s perfect if I do say so myself. Let’s turn in grandma and grandpa for newer models…

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the traditional role of grandma and grandpa. It’s a real treat for young kids to go to the grandparent’s house while mom and dad are working – grandma will bake cookies and other goodies and let the kids eat all they want. Grandpa will take the kids fishing or to the park or somewhere fun.

But sooner or later there will come a time when grandma and grandpa just can’t hack it anymore. Grandma no longer bakes and can’t do certain things anymore because of arthritis. And Grandpa just can’t move like he used to, his knees pop and his back aches…what fun is it going to the park when grandpa has to use a scooter?

Let’s forget about all the wisdom and love grandma and grandpa have provided over the years and can still provide.  No baking, no trips to the park? No need to visit them any more.

But…mom and dad desperately need the time off that those visits to grandma and grandpa used to provide.

So as I said, I’ve got the perfect solution!

Take grandma and grandpa to a shelter where they can be quietly put down (or not so quietly depending on the technique) – after all, they’ve outlived their usefulness – and exchange them for a new grandma and grandpa!  The newer model grandma can cook tasty treats, and the new grandpa will be able to get into a roller coaster with the grandkids and they can all get happily sick together.

Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this. Okay, yeah, I know. I’m melodramatic. But stay with me here for a bit.

I’m talking about people who have had dogs and cats for years and years (the animal’s entire life even), but once the dog gets too old to chase after a ball, or the cat has lost interest in playing with the little laser light and just sleeps all day long, lots of people just take them straight to a shelter – a kill shelter, mark you – because really, who wants an elderly dog or cat? – and replaces them immediately and without compunction with a new impossibly adorable puppy or a kitten.

So, a dog has given a family a lifetime of love, and now when it can no longer run and jump, but simply wants to sit by his master’s side and be petted, the family just gets rid of it? It’s disposable because it’s so easily replaceable, I guess. This is our society now. This is what we do. Aren’t you proud?

What prompts this ridiculous rant you ask?  Well, recently I saw this couple, with their kids in tow, dumping a 13-year-old dog off at a shelter and at the same time were adopting a puppy. There was nothing wrong with the dog except he was just too old.  I could see his confusion and terror, it was written all of over his face. He knew something was wrong but just couldn’t quite figure out what. The woman was even talking about what a great dog he was, he was just “too old.” They wanted a younger puppy around the house. And the shelter had no problem with this!

“Ah, yes, Fido’s outlived his usefulness, we’ll take care of him so you don’t have to (and you know what their idea of “taking care” of Fido will be) and here’s a brand new puppy for you – see you in another 13 years! Have a great day!”

You’ll be happy to know that a rescue friend of mine swooped in to save the day for Bruce (his name is Bruce). But what about all of the elderly dogs that are dumped daily into “shelters” (what a euphemism that is!)? I have a hard time with any animal being dumped at a kill shelter (there are so many alternatives) but it especially breaks my heart to see a dog who has lived with one family his entire life, has given his love, his loyalty, his everything, and that family who supposedly loved him has no qualms about abandoning him.

It’s a shame that those pet-owners/parents can’t be dumped by their kids when they get too old – or maybe they will be. Maybe their kids will learn from this…so much more than the parents ever intended.  And when they get older their kids will dump them in “a home” the first chance they get because they’re “old.”

old dogs

16 thoughts on “Trading Up

  1. I saw many older dogs when I volunteered in a shelter. It broke my heart that they were overlooked for adoption, even the smaller older dogs. Many were dumped by kids whose elderly parents had died and didn’t want the responsibility of looking after the family pet. These poor dogs were left to see out the last of their years in a shelter that was underfunded. So many changed their personality from loving to dealing with cramped conditions of the shelter. I’m happy your friend could help Bruce out.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! And bless your heart for volunteering at shelters. It’s a tough thing to do. I can completely understand not wanting to take on the responsibility of their parents’ dogs, but why not place them with a private rescue? Or find them a home? Or have them humanely euthanized at a vet? The trauma of putting them into a kill shelter or any similarly run shelter is so tremendous that it’s no wonder their personalities change. But then that’s why these places exist in the first place…because there is an overabundance of irresponsible owners. It’s a sad situation all around.

  2. You’re kidding? People DO this?
    You’re not kidding. Oh that’s horrible.
    We wept when our aging dog fell ill with brain tumors and seizures. When the medications stopped working we chose to put her down with us by her side, rather than risk her dying alone at home while we were at work & school.
    It was months before we could think of adopting again.
    How can people DO that?

  3. As someone earlier said – this does break my heart! I cant even comprehend how anyone could do this. Its OUR responsibility when we bring an animal into our lives – to make sure when the time comes that the right thing is done for that animal. Sure its hard – but they deserve your love to the end of their lives AND beyond!
    I agree – the people who did that to Bruce are teaching their children that everything & everyone can be treated that way! Your friend certainly has MY thanks.

    • You are so right! I could not agree with you more.

      What bothered me most of all is that this shelter had no issue with this family “adopting” a puppy WHILE they were relinquishing this older dog. The fact that they were admitting they considered a pet disposable didn’t seem to bother the shelter worker at all. I’ve seen some callous behavior on the part of shelter workers, but somehow this disturbed me more than usual…I guess because of the ease with which all parties took the situation.

  4. This sickens me, all the more so because it’s true. We live in a disposable society. I would kill to protect my dogs, I would mortgage my home if necessary to get them medical treatment. They are as much my heart as any human child could be. Karma, in some way, will find its way to the door of those people and others like them, and it won’t be pleasant.

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