Monday, September 22, 2008

A Big Responsibility

Over the weekend John and I enjoyed the cool evening weather and attended the Plaza Art Fair, perusing the various booths and checking out creations of artists from all over the country. While there, I noticed a booth for the Kansas City Humane Society, so we wandered over to check out the pups needing homes. Of course, I honed in on a sweet beagle face. Clarence was a one-year-old handsome beagle boy, calm but happy, wagging his tail as I petted him. At this time, I also noticed a harried-looking mother with two small children. The kids were running around, darting from dog to dog to dog, until they came to Clarence. They both shouted, "We want this one! Mom, this one!" The mother, without barely glancing at the pup, said "fine," and the volunteer led Clarence to a holding area while the woman filled out the necessary paperwork.

I know I sometimes have a tendency to worry about things that I shouldn't, or worry about things I have no control over, but as I watched this woman, these boisterous kids, and this little beagle standing patiently, wagging his tail, I wondered if Clarence really was going to a good home. Would this woman and children give him the proper care and discipline that he needs? If they don't know much about beagles, would they be willing learn and understand the breed and the challenges that they would face? Do they have a secure fence, or would Clarence roam freely? Or did they just see a cute face, a cute little dog her children wanted? Once the novelty of having a puppy wears off, will they be willing to train him when he's baying endlessly at the neighbor's cat? Or jumping up on people when they visit? Will they walk him and give him plenty of room to run around? I really hope that Clarence won't end up back at the Humane Society in a few weeks, because the family didn't take the time to get to know this little being, to know if he was a good fit for their family, their lifestyle. I can't help but get a little upset when I see people picking out pets like they would a toy, something new to play with until they get tired of it. It happens all the time, and pets end up discarded or back at the shelter. I may be being overly dramatic, I know, and it's possible that Clarence will have a happy life in his forever home. I really hope so. Because when we decide to own a pet, that little being on four legs is counting on us. He will give us his all and love us unconditionally for the rest of his life, and it's only fair that we do the same in return.