I feel like there are three distinct ways people generally go about the decision to have children.
In the first way, couples painstakingly plan and wait for what feels like the perfect time. They ensure finances are in order, they live in an appropriate neighborhood, they’re at a point in their careers to take the time away, etc. This process takes years.
Others go the route of “let’s just see what happens.” They discontinue birth control and leave it up to chance.
For some, it happens purely by accident and they embrace it.
This is obviously an oversimplification and doesn’t take into account those who struggle to conceive, but for the purposes of this post, it works. Bear with me…
It dawned on me recently that while we have three children who were a product of variations of the ways I just listed, we also have three pets now and each fits a different decision-making process.
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
For years we talked about getting a dog and were obsessed with Frenchies (French Bulldogs). We had toddlers at the time and knew it wasn’t great timing. We waited and we planned. We had Pinterest boards featuring nothing but cute pup pics. We researched breeders and pricing. We planned down to the day when the best time to pull the trigger would be. Taco (named lovingly for a character from the TV show The League) was purchased in 2014 at 8 weeks old. He sleeps 20 hours a day when he isn’t growling and snapping at anyone who doesn’t reside full-time in our home. He’s allergic to all poultry products and has back problems. Aside from his purchase price, he has cost us thousands. We love him. Somehow.
Oops, I Did It Again
A few years later we had our “unplanned” version of pet ownership. Over the course of two weeks, I kept seeing a Beagle mix running the rural roads near our home. Cars notoriously speed on these roads, and he was traveling with a pet I knew belonged to a neighboring family. The teen sons of said family picked their dog up and left him behind while this sweet pup followed behind their vehicle for a mile. I told my husband that if I could get him to come with me I was going to pick him up and try to find his owners. My husband said under no circumstances were we keeping this dog. After dropping the kids off at school one morning, I stopped and he hopped right into my car, looked right at me and I swear to you he smiled. We brought him to a vet to see if he was chipped, posted in Facebook groups for lost pets, and did everything we could to find an owner. It was clear he’d been kept at one point because he was neutered and his teeth had been cared for. Upon further inspection and after spending time with him, we discovered he’d obviously been abused and had likely been pepper-sprayed at one time (he has damage to his eyes). The vet initially thought he was 5 years old, but it turns out he’s much older. He’s been with us for three years now and while we don’t know how much time he has left, he is so loved and cared for and is the best boy. His name is Bill for Bill Belichick – one of the greatest football coaches to ever coach the game – since we brought him home on the weekend of the Super Bowl.
Just Wingin’ It
Last weekend we experienced yet another method…the “let’s see what happens”. My husband is a cat person. While I think they’re adorable and get in my feelings when I see pics of kittens for adoption, I would not generally label myself as such. Even though life is crazy at the moment, we have the attitude that there’s never really a perfect time so let’s just see what happens. We walked right into Petco last Sunday for the Cara’s House Meow Luau figuratively “without protection” and walked right out with Sprinkles the kitten, a litter box, and a bag of cat food.
Whether you’re someone who plans meticulously or throws caution to the wind, I encourage you to consider opening your heart and home to an animal in need. I won’t get into the purchase/adopt debate here as everyone does what they feel is best for their individual families, but I can say with 100% certainty that there have been few things as rewarding as making a pet who needed a home a part of our family.
In no particular order (and not affiliated with Red Stick Mom), here are a few rescues I follow on Facebook … in case you want to “see what happens”…wink, wink.
Cara’s House in Ascension Parish
Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge
Dante’s Hope in Baton Rouge
Companion Animal Alliance
New Orleans Bulldog Rescue