The Power of a (Broken) Promise

Promises seem to be easily broken these days. Unfortunately, when promises are broken to the pets we care for, it often ends up being a death sentence for those pets.

Who knew I could tie a commentary about animal welfare to Kim Kardashian's recent 72-day marriage?

Well, here goes - Kim doesn't seem to understand the power of a promise made, or of a promise broken. Her commitment lasted a whopping 72 days. When her marriage became the least bit difficult, inconvenient or uncomfortable, she was already done. 

Here's the connection to the pets we care about so much: When we adopt a pet, we make a promise to provide a home for the rest of that beloved pet's life.

Unfortunately, I see more and more people who take that promise lightly. I am not talking about the people who are facing increasing financial hardship and would do anything to keep their pets, but just can't. I am not talking about the people that have tried everything to integrate a pet into their family, and just can't make it work.  

I am talking about the people who start an email to us this way (this is an actual email we received today):

I am desperately trying to find a placement option for my 16 year old dog.  She has been with me for her entire life...I cannot care for her the way she should be cared for any longer due to my schedule and growing family. Do you have any solutions or suggestions?  Since she is older, nobody in my family is interested in taking her.  If I had to guess, I would say she has at least 2-3 more years of life left based on her spurts of energy and she just needs a good place to spend them with attention and love. Please help. I want to do what's best for her.    

I really try to stay positive and helpful whenever possible, but I want to ask this woman what other promises she has broken in her life, and then hoped that someone else or some other organization would take care of the mess left by her broken promises.   

My heart aches for her dog, who really has no options. There is a 1-in-1,000,000 chance that this dog would ever be adopted out of a shelter. Even if she was, think about the stress she would go through at the shelter after spending 16 years with a family. And I can almost guarantee that when this woman feels like her life is easier, she'll want another dog.

I realize that if you are still reading this, I am probably preaching to the choir on this issue. But please, please, please - do not make a promise to a pet that you cannot keep. Unlike Kim Kardashian's husband, who can simply move on with his life, broken promises almost always end up as death sentences for pets who simply cannot survive without our commitment.

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Rita MacCallon November 17, 2011 at 04:03 AM
Thank you Susan for a brave commentary. The email brought a tear to my eye and lump to my throat. You are right that the prospects for this poor senior dog are not good if the owner gives her up. People have to realize that not only do they make a promise, but they take on a COMMITMENT & RESPONSIBILITY for their pet's life. I truly hope this owner steps up to "do what's best for her".
Barbara Barth November 20, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I have five dogs from my local shelter. With love they are doing so well. My heart is breaking about this older dog. Do you know what happened to it? I work with a few rescue groups and maybe someone can help, maybe I can.
Susan Leisure November 23, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Barbara, unfortunately, I don't know what happened to this older dog. After we sent some resources on finding her another home, we never heard back. I am assuming they just dropped her off at a county shelter, where she was likely euthanized.


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