Written by Ryan Harrison
Adopting an animal, which is most definitely rescuing an animal, is a curious thing. Nine out of ten people would surmise that this act would inspire positive feelings and a general sense of dogooder-ness, they would be right. However, only with first hand experience does that rationalisation become truly comprehensible. I am currently away for work, sitting in a hotel room, without my best mate, Biscuit, a spritely Staffy x Whippet who is more legs than body and has been by my side for just shy of 5 years. This is an extremely rare occasion for two reasons.
The first being that when you make a commitment to adopt an animal, you are signing a proverbial contract to take their health and life into your own hands. It is for this reason that time away from them should be well considered and the appropriate arrangements made to care for them in your stead (as you would any other family member you are responsible for).
The second reason is, although my absence from home will be brief, I truly detest being separated from her. Biscuit, Biccy, Bicco, Riggy, Lieutenant Scrudge or otherwise known as Princess Wobbegong, is for all intensive purposes, my anxiety dog. Not because I have an officially diagnosed condition, nor do I have any more anxiety related issues as any other thirty-something Gen Y, but, I do know that despite the added pressure that comes with ones life changing to accommodate an animal, her very presence eases my anxieties, makes me a calmer, happier person and unquestionably improves my life.
She is anxious herself, barks at particularly untoward household sounds, is a little too friendly with bush rats and lizards and is, what is known as, a ‘velcro dog’ (must, without question, be in physical contact or the imminent likelihood of physical contact at any given moment) and despite all that, actually, because of all that, I love her all the more. I love her because she has an unquestionably unique personality. Not every human deserves a bond with a dog but every dog deserves a bond with a human – the same can be said for all animals. Although Homo Sapien is inarguably the cruelest creature to ever walk this earth, when it does form a bond with another animal it is often unbreakable.
It would be easier to use the word ‘countless’ when discussing the amount of perfectly healthy “companion” animals that are surrendered and euthanised every day but people should know that someone is counting and the figure is half a yard off 300,000 per annum. It is this sobering figure, the readily available fact sheets on the horrors of puppy farms, the seemingly never ending list of health issues cultivated by breeders, the exceedingly preposterous price tags that accompany pure bred animals and the common knowledge that mutts are, more often than not, healthier than their inbred counterparts, that I choose to adopt not shop. And at the risk of bringing up politics, US president-elect Joe Biden, is bringing with him, Major, the very first rescue dog to call the White House, home. So, if it’s good enough for the White House, it’s good enough for you.
Rescue a life, receive a companion, earn a best friend. Don’t purchase sentient property.