Last month, over 50 animals were found tethered to trees — abandoned in Palm Beach county, as hurricane Irma approached and residents evacuated. Rescuers scrambled to recover these poor, defenseless animals quickly before Irma’s harsh winds made it too dangerous to continue their efforts.
Of course, this type of story can shock us and cause us to react in disgust, bewilderment, or anger, but it also raises an important question:
Why would someone leave their pet behind?
As with many homes and businesses, our office (based in Naples, FL) was impacted by Hurricane Irma. While hurricanes are one of nature’s most devastating forces, they are certainly not the only situation that can cause panic or rash decision-making leading to the separation of animals from their owners.
Some other potential causes include:
- Other natural disasters (such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornados, etc.)
- Changes in living situations (i.e., the destination home may not allow pets)
- Family or relationship breakups (where the animal is not seen as having a specific owner)
- Owner’s progressing age (where caring for the animal is too difficult due to the owner’s old age)
- Pet’s age or health issues (where caring for the animal is too difficult due to their age or illness)
Can you think of any others? Perhaps a friend or family member has faced a challenge that has caused them to decide they can no longer care for their pet. We’d like to hear from you! Use the comments section below.
What can we do about these issues? One reality we must all eventually realize is that we can’t control all aspects of our lives. Some experiences are unavoidable, but while we can’t always prevent these things from happening, we can help our fellow pet owners and their pets through education and donation.
- EDUCATE – Relay any pertinent, useful knowledge…
- DONATE – Give your time, effort, money, or resources…
…to people or pets in need.
Do you know someone who may no longer be able to care for their pet? Think of some helpful info that you may be able to relay that could help them manage their situation. Pet rescues, shelters, or other resources may be the difference between a pet with or without a home.
Do you have anything that you can contribute? If you can volunteer or give money or supplies, your donation will make a difference in the lives of pets faced with a crisis.
For every 50 pets that are left behind, there is little doubt that an infinite number of us humans can and will offset these sad stories with happy endings.