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DISPOSABLE ANIMALS

By Kate Bremer

Recently “The New Mexican” ran a classified something to this effect: “Moving! Three dogs and two cats must find homes.” On a positive note, I can say that least this person is putting some energy into placing these animals-as far as we know they have not dumped them at a shelter or on some lonesome highway, nor have they taken them out back and shot them.

Working in a veterinary clinic, I notice an alarming number of these ads and real-life victims of our disposable animal society.

Usually the person involved is leaving Santa Fe, just moving to Santa Fe, or moving to a new place which doesn’t allow pets. I’ve noticed that many people readily accept this excuse for dumping animals; it’s part of the Santa Fe cosmology of too-high rent and intolerant landlords.

Moving is no excuse. If you can’t find a home I Santa Fe that will accept your pets--keep looking; there are understanding landlords out there. Or try Albuquerque, Pecos, Española, Peña Blanca, Chimayo, Jemez Springs. Most of all, when you adopt a dog or cat, know that it’s a lifetime commitment. I like it when I hear people acknowledge that they’re too transient to have a companion animal; that’s a responsible and humane position. Always, there are exceptions. Your destiny may take a serious unexpected turn. If so, chances are there’s a wonderful home for your animal if you put time and energy into finding it.

Ten years ago I considered taking my dog to the shelter. I was so frustrated with trying to find a decent place to live in Santa Fe-one place I had lined up, the owner backed out because the previous room-renter decided not to move out. I then moved in with a drug-addicted vegan tyrant from whom I was desperate to get away. I didn’t even think of trying to find a home for my dog. My mind saw a problem and its solution was to dispose of the animal. Looking back, I see an immature, unconscious person who was unable to be respectful of the dog and our relationship. It took some time, but I found a home for myself and my dog and cat. It wasn’t charming, but it became a sanctuary for us, and Lulu was finally recognized by me as the most wonderful friend and loving companion. My relationship with her, which I casually considered trashing, turned out to be worth much more than any house or any particular locale.

What I want to say is that animals are our friends for life. The Santa Fe real estate market has nothing to do with that. When someone tells you they’re getting rid of their animals because they’re moving, don’t buy into it. Don’t make it easy for them. There’s a home out there somewhere for them and their companion animals. Help them find it.

Kate Bremer is a poet, vet tech, pet sitter and animal advocate in the Pojoaque valley.

This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 1997 issue.

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