I have never had a pet. No, really. I’m a 22 year old woman who has never even had so much as a goldfish. Everyone I know has a dog (or a cat, but cats are gross) and I’m over here like, ‘hey guys, can I play with your puppy?’. I love dogs. I’ma get me one eventually, and I’ll love him and squeeze him and feed him and take him for walks. In short, I’ll be a decent pet owner. Because, despite never having had a pet, I would never get one for the novelty and then neglect it.
I have neighbours. There have been a lot of different people living in that house, but a few things seem pretty constant. Their sex and their arguments are always loud. Their cars are always parked out the front of our house. And their dogs are always ignored. And it makes me angry. First there was a big beautiful American bulldog. She was a biiig dog in a small yard, and she was bored. I asked if I could take her on my late night walks, and I’d never seen her so excited. Our walks became a regular thing. As did us throwing food over the fence because she was underfed, and entirely too skinny. Then one day she was gone, and I can only hope she went to a better home.
Then the neighbours changed and there came a second dog. I don’t know what he was but he was bigger than the first, and dumb. He would bark at everything and nothing, and set the entire neighbourhood of dogs barking with him. And it was constant. The same monotonous, loud bark, for literally hours at a time, because he had owners who ignored him and he was bored. Eventually someone made a complaint, and that neighbour and her dog left. There was blissful silence for a while. And then came the third dog.
Yesterday afternoon, I passed out on my insanely comfortable new bed and was awoken by the small, pitiful bark of a puppy. After twenty minutes, I groaned, stuck my head out the window and called out for it to hush. It did, for about five minutes and then started up again. I got up, went to the fence and saw this sweet faced little thing, sitting at the fence, looking out expectantly and barking. She was so cute, and so lonely. I put my hand through the fence and she was so excited to have someone pay her attention, I think she could have licked me to death. Her little tail was wagging and she was nudging my hand with her head and it made me sad to walk away from her. But the neighbours were nowhere in sight. She’s gone now, and I can only wonder how long it will be before she and her little lonely bark are back.
I don’t understand pet neglect. Maybe you take it for granted because you have always had a pet. Maybe you didn’t really want a pet, so you think you don’t have to look after it. Maybe you’re just a horrible person. But regardless, if you get a pet, you need to love it. Because even petless people like me know that they love you unconditionally, and they deserve better than to be neglected and ignored. And if you won’t take care of them, I’ll steal them and do it myself.