For the week of October 14 thru October 20, 1998  

The remains of abandoned dreams


The Wood River Valley is full of romance. Spring, summer, fall and winter, it is the perfect place to live the western life, close to the outdoors.

A snug little home—skis leaning by the front door--a crackling fire and a dog stretched out on the hearth are all that is needed for the perfect life in which all live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, happily-ever-after can vanish instantly for the cuddly canine. This fall, the valley’s animal shelter is bursting at the seams. It is home to about 30 dogs and nearly 40 cats. They are the four-legged remains of abandoned dreams, of things not working out right.

There’s no denying that circumstances

in life sometimes demand that pets go to new owners. However, a lot of those circumstances could be avoided if the humans involved would think things through before they bring pets into the picture.

This story is too common:

Rover the puppy was cute. He liked to cuddle on the couch. He loved to run and romp and nuzzle his owner.

Rover had a great year leading his beloved owner on hikes, splashing in creeks, chewing up old shoes and being the center of attention.

Then it all stopped. Rover grew up and left his playful puppy ways behind. He became a large handful. He needed to run every day, but was tied up in the yard. He was bored and lonesome. He learned to slip his collar for afternoons of freedom.

He discovered that garbage cans were canine cookie jars—full of incredible treats. In his mind he became Homedog, king of the street.

Then, Rover’s owner decided the kick had gone out of mountain living and decided to move back to the city.

Rover landed at the animal shelter, abandoned and dispirited. Where was his owner with whom he had cuddled on cold evenings and to whom he was devoted?

The shelter is a great place, and it provides great service to animals and the community. But it’s still the destination for victims of someone’s misguided pursuit of happiness.

Everyone knows the sermon on pets—they’re work, they take constant care and attention. Unfortunately, too many people still don’t believe it.

Pets aren’t like log cabins, fine wines or great pairs of skis, to be acquired or discarded on a whim. Anyone who thinks so should forget about adding a dog or cat to their mountain dream.

For people who understand that pet ownership is a lifetime thing, a new best friend may be waiting at the shelter.

 

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