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Wishes for the New Year

Mindy Norton

Many of the New Year's resolutions we make for ourselves could also apply to our pets - eat healthier, get more exercise, regular medical checkup and shots.  But this year my resolutions are for better treatment and concern for all pets!

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At the start of a new year, a lot of us make resolutions for changes or improvements we would like to see in the next twelve months. Beyond the global wish for an end to the pandemic, I admit that I have my own wish list - for pets - not just for my pets, or yours, but for all companion animals.

I would start by wishing for an end to puppy mills, those large-scale pet breeding operations that focus solely on profit and often ignore the health and well-being of the animals. Pets live their lives in cages with little or no human interaction, poor hygiene, no health care, and their offspring are sickly. But they are officially pure-bred animals and are usually sold in pet stores.

If you want a pure bred animal, contact a local breeder. If you want a pet, adopt one from your local animal shelter or rescue group.

Also on my wish list would be a society in which pets were not considered disposable items. I once had a man explain to me after surrendering his dog to the shelter that he and his family were going on vacation. They would just get another one when they came back. He seemed oblivious to the emotional pain he was causing his pet, and unsympathetic to the risk that his dog might not make it out of the shelter alive. If pets were more difficult to acquire, would they be valued more?

So my third wish would be an end to euthanasia of petanimals simply because there are too many of them and not enough good homes. That means that all pet owners - you, me, ALL pet owners - would be responsible for having their companion animals spayed or neutered to stop pet overpopulation.

My wish list is pretty long, but that's the top three. You can help by getting your next furry friend from a shelter or rescue group, caring for your four-footed buddy and treating it well, and having it surgically altered to prevent the birth of more litters of puppies or kittens.

If we're going to change the world for animals, the best place to start is right at home, when we're speaking of pets.

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Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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