Learning another language

With a schoolmarm for a mother and a father who delighted in sharing the journey of his high school education with his children, it should be no surprise that I did very well in school. Nor should it startle anyone to learn that even then, I never hesitated to speak out. For years it was a family joke that my report cards always included the euphemism “Janet contributes a lot to the class”. Which of course was teacherspeak for saying that I had a big mouth.
Every profession has their own language and often one needs a glossary to interpret. When a realtor advertises a listing as being five minutes from town … that time frame is actually only applicable if one is willing to risk a speeding ticket. Three star can often wind up being third rate. And any cook will tell you that preparation time is usually established by an experienced cook in a well equipped kitchen who has made the recipe before.
First and foremost, Kijiji provides a free service for people who are looking to unload something they do not want. When people are selling something they tend to use positive phrases and include brand names to catch attention.
There is an old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch Nowhere is that more evident that the problems that land in the lap of animal rescue from the pets that are passed around “free to a good home”. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination for experienced pet owners to read between the lines …. but less savvy folks are unfamiliar with the language.
In the interests of clarity, there really ought to be a glossary:

  • my owners do not have the time 1. have not been trained 2. did not realize how much work a pet is 3. have met a new partner who doesn’t like pets
  • looking for a family where someone is home all day 1. I ate the couch 2. I bark all day while my people are out 3. I take a leak on the bed or poop on the carpet when my people leave me
  • child has suddenly developed allergies 1. I didn’t realize how busy it is to be a parent 2. My pet doesn’t like having his or her tail pulled 3. I can’t afford to go to Baby Gap and buy good pet food
  • we just had a baby 1, we didn’t bother to prepare our pet for the change in our life 2. we will get another pet after this baby gets bigger 3. we will give that pet away the next time I get pregnant 4. We are all caught up in the miracle of birth and do not care what happens to our faithful old friend, 5. We have discovered how darned expensive babies are …. we won’t be able to buy the swanky jogging stroller and buy pet food
  • we are moving 1. we didn’t look for a new place that is pet friendly 2. we don’t care how hard it is for an adult pet to find a new home 3. we don’t mind teaching our children that pets are disposable 4. we will get a new pet when we get to our new place
  • lovely/cute/adorable kittens 1. we didn’t think the cat was old enough to get pregnant 2. we didn’t think the cat would be able to get outside 3. we want to share the miracle of birth with our children and then teach them to throw pets away 4. cat overpopulation is not our problem …. we find homes for all our kittens
  • my new partner has allergies 1. I am so desperate and unsure of myself that i will not dare to insist that he or she get allergy shots 2. I looking for love but am willing to abandon those who love me in a heartbeat 3. I am willing to trust my heart to someone who is not prepared to respect the things I value most 4. I am prepared to live with someone who is unwilling to compromise
  • gets along with most other dogs 1. Except the ones that they don’t 2. Other than the ones they snap at 3. I didn’t socialize my pet so they have never learned the polite way to interact with other animals.
  • great for a home without small children 1. not trained. 2. not socialized to small children 3. Didn’t like having their ears or tails pulled 4. Jumped on someone’s child and now I have to find them a new home before animal control gets called
  • looking for a country home 1. will not stay home 2. Great at climbing fences 3. Barks all day when left tied out 4. has not been neutered and is a great escape artist when there is a bitch in heat within a five mile radius 5 Has not been leash trained
  • great pet for retired person 1. Will eat the leg off dining room table in ten minutes when left home alone. 2. Can bark louder than a drill sergeant when left home alone 3. Can shred a two hundred dollar duvet in five minutes when left home alone 4. we thought it would be kinder to get rid of him than to crate train him 5. we are sure that retired people are looking for a little excitement in their lives
  • our dog cannot adjust to living in town 1. will not stop barking when tied outside 2. will not stop barking at all the new noises and we shouldn’t have to reassure him 3. Its a lot of work pooper scooping our little yard 4. The neighbours get upset when he runs loose
  • eight year old purebred 1. Has been burned out as a puppy machine 2. we don’t think its a good investment to pay for dental surgery for him at his age. 3. We are teaching our children that age does not need to be respected because we will never need to depend on them when we get older
  • rescued a few months ago 1. didn’t realize what a challenge it would be to train him or her. 2. don’t want to pay to have her spayed 3. Our landlord found out we have a pet
  • urgent 1. going to take him to the vet to be killed 2. Going to dump her on a back road 3. Going to tape her up in a box and leave her at a shelter
  • do not want to take to spca 1. have never tried this or would realize they don’t take owner surrenders 2. Live where they did take owner surrenders and don’t realize that policies have changed and that they won’t kill this one for me 3. want to shift the responsibility for the outcome to the reader

Better still … there oughta be a law banning the traffic of living breathing sentient beings in the free online ad sites. With the wild west freedom of its parent company coming under scrutiny from Revenue Canada, perhaps now our politicians will finally stop thinking of the whole issue as untouchable.

At some point in time, every animal owner is a rookie. What time is it? Its time to understand that freedom from restriction is not at all the same thing as personal liberty.

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