Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sat, Jan. 18

Harber Lights: If you really want a pet, learn to be responsible

In a cartoon on TV recently, "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown," Lucy's and Linus's little brother, ReRun, bemoans his mother not allowing him a puppy as his holiday gift.

"Wap-waaaa-wap-waaaa-waaaa!" his mom would trumpet in frustration whenever he brought up the idea.

ReRun was obsessed with Charlie Brown's dog, Snoopy.

Snoopy soon became sick of the kindergartner being around, so he invited his wayward canine sibling, Spike, to come visit.

After ReRun and Spike spent some time together, all sides concerned — including Spike — decided that it was better ReRun not have a dog.

Then all of the characters — including Snoopy — sang and danced around.

The End.

In the non-cartoon world, however, it's a very bad idea for people to change their minds about having a pet once they acquire it.

People obtaining animals and then quickly getting rid of them is a big problem for everyone.

People give pets to their spouses, children and friends during the holidays.

A significant number of these animals, however, are abandoned before the end of January.

Sometimes the animals are taken to a shelter but often people just dump the animals — usually in someone else's neighborhood so the animal can't find its way back to them.

Pets aren't an appropriate gift.

The owner should acquire this type of high-maintenance possession for himself or herself, not for someone else.

And if a pet is for a child, a parent should be sure they — not just the child — will have ample time to take care of the new dog, cat, fish or rabbit.

Anyone considering adding a pet to their home should really think about how the decision will impact their life, the lives of relatives, others with whom they share their home, and the neighbors who would have to hear the pet bark, meow, growl, snort, etc.

There is another important individual in this type of situation: the pet.

Dogs and cats run rampant in and around Kingman.

The area's government animal control system is overwhelmed by wandering dogs, cats and other pets so some citizens and groups have been trying to keep so many stray animals from being euthanized.

The situation, however, doesn't seem to improve.

A dog I call "Limpy" had become a fixture in my neighborhood.

The beige mutt could be seen gingerly trotting around my apartment complex, nearby parks and surrounding shopping centers.

I thought he had a home but seldom stayed there.

He looked well kept, in spite of his limp.

Though Limpy never allowed people to approach him, he seemed to suffer a flashback or breakdown on Thanksgiving.

He stayed in one section of the apartment complex parking lot and made such a fuss that someone called police on him.

Chances were good that Limpy had earned his name because of a mishap with an auto: Every time someone would go out to their car that evening, Limpy would start barking in a frightened, agitated way.

Animal control officers weren't available because it was a required day off, so police officers attempted to intervene but instead opted to let animal control officers grab the scary (and scared) dog when they returned to work.

The problem: It was expected to be very cold during those evenings.

I haven't seen Limpy much since.

Hopefully, he has found a safe, warm loving place to stay.

Here's a holiday thought: Instead of obtaining a new pet, how about spaying or neutering one you already own.

The rumors about the procedure changing an animal's personality aren't true.

Don't create more animals because we already have more than we can handle as a society.

Nature's miracles can be seen on video or in books and human guys need to stop projecting their Freudian fears onto animals.

Make sure your pets don't run around town causing potential hazards or dangers to other animals and people.

Too many people think it's OK to let their animals run loose while they go to work, school, the movies or even on vacations.

Pets are like children and deserve comparable love and attention.

All you might be hearing by now is "Wap-waaaa-wap-waaaa-waaaa!" But this is important: If you still really want a pet, adopt one from the government shelter or one of the no-kill organizations around our area.

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