What You Owe Your Pets

(This was orginally written for dog owners, but it applies to all animals)

  1. You owe them a chance to survive. Protection from traffic, harmful plants, the weather, etc., is your responsibility.
  2. You owe them a cool place in the summer and a warm place in the winter.
  3. You owe them enough attention to keep them from going insane with boredom.
  4. You owe them more than food and water––you owe them some time.
  5. You owe them enough education to help them cope with any problems they’ll be confronted with since you became their owner.
  6. You owe them enough respect not to ask them to jog on the pavement when it’s hot enough to keep you from going barefoot, or to wait in a hot car while you shop in an air-conditioned store.
  7. You owe them the time it takes to teach them how to get into and out of the pool so they won’t fall in and drown when you’re not around.
  8. You need to treat them as though they are living, breathing creatures with feelings, not just status symbols or toys that you respond to only when you’re bored or that you discard when they become an inconvenience as a result of your neglect.
  9. You owe them all the basic things in life that you yourself expect, because they’re not capable of acquiring these things on their own. They can’t pick their owners.
  10. You owe them a second or third or fourth chance when they make a mistake that you could have prevented with a little attention and effort.
  11. You owe them a life that’s more than eating, sleeping, waiting to go to the bathroom, and waiting for the next boring, empty day.

If you’re not willing to do what it takes to be a responsible, caring pet owner and a good friend, don’t get a pet! It’s better to not be a pet owner than to ruin an animal’s life on a whim.