Thursday, August 22, 2013

The REAL "9 Reasons Not to Get a Pet"

NOT an accurate portrayal of my job

Here in my small beach town being a damn good animal control officer just isn't enough. The job description includes "other duties as assigned" and my boss uses that to his full advantage. I am a State certified crossing guard, departmental "go for," catamaran counter, admin assistant, wannabe paralegal, webmaster and the Queen of Special Projects. I've even dressed up as a prostitute to do undercover vice stings -- don't ask, it was not pretty. The latest wild hair includes PR specialist and journalist. (And you thought I was just a dog catcher, huh?) I am now required to find and participate in community outreach events and write articles for the paper. If I do a good job my boss gets a feather in his cap (and all the credit of course); if I do a bad job I take all the blame and get a black mark on my annual eval that jeopardizes my chances for a raise. It's enough to make a girl a little bitter.

Several months ago -- in between dangerous dog cases, neighbor versus neighbor disputes, monthly stats, revising ordinances, and dogs running-at-large on the beach -- I was told to write another article for the paper. I decided to recycle something I had posted on my blog a year previously since only about five of you were reading it at the time (original post here). Its a good post, and I put a lot of thought into it. Yesterday I was told that it was submitted to the paper but the sergeant had tweaked it because it was too "harsh" and "aggressive." My use of the phrase "do not" was too "negative." (Obviously sarcasm isn't taught at the police academy.) I smiled and said okay like a good little minion, but inside my head I was screaming "Then write your own F***ing articles and I'll go do animal control stuff!"

Not an accurate photo of me
(but much cuter than the faux ho thing)
I probably shouldn't be too upset since they're not going to give me the byline anyway. And to be fair, I haven't seen the article with the changes; maybe it's not as bad as the last time. (And maybe I'll win the lottery. Oops, there's that sarcasm again.) Still, I'm annoyed. What if people read that censored piece of crap and assume its mine? They'll think I really am "just a stupid dog catcher." sigh. On the off chance that anyone cares, here is the original article in my true voice. Enjoy.

P.S. I am writing this on my phone while sitting in a park handing out Animal Control brochures and answering stupid questions. It's 85 degrees with 90 percent humidity. I'm sweating and I'm miserable. But I'm smiling! Yes, I'm a good little minion.

9 Reasons Not to Get a Pet

Summer is around the corner. It seems that more people add pets to their family this time of year than any other. Before you make that decision, however, here are nine good reasons not to get a pet.

  • Pets are expensive. DO NOT get one if you cannot afford to care for it. This includes food, supplies, vaccinations and regular vet care. It may also include pet deposits and municipal licenses.
  • Pets are time consuming. DO NOT get one if you are not able to spend time with it. Does your work schedule allow for quality time with an animal? If you would rather spend your off time partying with your friends and going away for the weekend please get a plant instead.
  • Pets are a long term commitment. DO NOT get one if you are unable or unwilling to spend 10+ years with the animal. Puppies and kittens lose their cuteness quickly. Are you willing to go through adolescence and geriatrics as well? Are you willing to care for a pet when your circumstances change -- i.e. a new job, relationship, or baby?
  • Pets are social creatures. DO NOT get one if you are only going to tie it up, throw it outside or leave it in a cage all day. This is just plain cruel.
  • Pets are annoying. DO NOT get one if you are not willing to train and socialize it. A bored animal will bark, howl, dig, chew, jump, poop, spray and irritate the neighbors.
  • Pets are stinky. DO NOT get one if you do not want to pick up poop or clean litter boxes.
  • Pets are promiscuous. DO NOT get one if you can't get it fixed, else it will be making and having babies as often as possible. An intact animal may also be more aggressive and exhibit annoying hormone-related behaviors. Cats will yowl, fight and spray, whereas dogs will jump fences and pee on everything. 
  • Pets are a liability. DO NOT get one if you are not in a stable living situation. Not all landlords, homeowners associations or insurance companies will accept your pets, especially if they're pit bulls or exotics. This limits your choices should you have to move.
  • Pets are a big responsibility. DO NOT get one if you are not willing to take care of it -- not your child, parent, spouse or roommate. If you don't personally have the time, energy or desire to take on the responsibility of caring for another living being, please put off getting a pet for now. You can always revisit the issue when your circumstances change.
If these warnings haven't swayed you, then hopefully you'll enter into pet ownership with your eyes wide open. Pets can be a wonderful addition to your life, bringing joy, merriment and unconditional love. When adding a pet to your family, please consider a shelter animal. Too many of them were previously owned by someone oblivious to the information above.