As the guardian of multiple animals, there is one responsibility I need to address every day. At minimum, first thing in the morning, as soon as I come home and last thing at night. All animals need to evacuate, and I have three large dogs, two good-sized cats and a number of community tanks housing a variety of cold-water and tropical fish.
The fish aren’t so bad, I can use one of those vacuum things to extract debris from the water, thus avoiding ammonia build-up resulting in death by asphyxiation for my fishy friends. There is even an added bonus – “fish-water” is good for my houseplants. The dogs and cats are another matter. Having to either sift through a litter box or pick up and wrap their doings in little baggies on a regular basis, I am becoming more and more convinced that while I am out of the house, they are ordering copious amounts of take-out, because their collective output always seems to be far more that what I put into them.
I’ve also noticed that as soon as the litter box/back garden has been cleared to my satisfaction, someone has deposited another little gift somewhere. Some days I feel like I’ve been sentenced to the punishment of Sisyphus. I’m convinced that the furry darlings have taken the human’s great interest in picking up and wrapping everything they do to heart, and feel a responsibility to deliver as much as they can in order to keep me happy. A sort of declaration of love and gratitude perhaps.
But I love my animals and if this unsavoury daily task has to be done every day, it’s a small price to pay for their companionship and love. What does bother me a great deal is that Izzy, my Old English Sheepdog, is incontinent due to being used as a puppy mill for the first five or six years of her life. She is very anxious to please and always does her best to indicate when she wants to get out, but very often does not manage to make it to the door before she has to let go. This sweet, biddable and gentle dog was put through some kind of house-training that involved shoving her face into whatever she had done, and the result is that if I show even the slightest vexation as I pull out the mop or the scoop and the antibac, she attempts to drink her puddle, or cowers in corner, shaking and blinking – often soaking herself in yet another fear-induced pool. To see such a big, beautiful animal in such an abject state breaks my heart.
If you are considering buying a purebred dog, be absolutely sure you are dealing with a reputable breeder, if you don’t, not only will you risk having a dog with severe genetic, health, behaviour issues, or all three, you will be contributing to the misery of yet another innocent animal, and there is every chance that she will not survive long enough to be rescued. Better still, contact your local rescue agency. If you are in Ireland, I’ve got information about a good one on one of my pages, link below.