HOLLYWOOD, MD — A person can’t be selfish if they make the choice to bring a dependent into their lives, no matter the species.

Recently, a report was published by The BayNet about a dog and her two puppies being disregarded in their caretaker’s backyard.

The adult female dog was chained to a tree with no food or water bowls in sight, and appeared as though she had recently had puppies.

Near the mother dog was a small, cramped cage. Exposed to the elements, two puppies lay side by side. One was rotting, its eyes sunken in its tiny skull. The other was waiting at the edge of death as it continued to breathe under layers of its own excrement and what little food the caretaker provided.

The mother dog was tense as officers approached to save her, her skin tight on her ribs. She recognized the kindness the officers were extending, and eventually let them pet her. Who knows how long the dog has survived without love.

When approached by officers, the caretaker expressed her apathy to the situation when she was arrested for counts of animal cruelty, claiming that she didn’t have the time to care for the creatures. As I am an outsider to the situation, I cannot imagine how or why she obtained the creatures. I only know the facts of the report, and she failed to take care of the animals in her charge.

How is it possible to be indifferent to the suffering of innocent creatures under the sparse shade of that tree?

Animals can usually take care of themselves if left alone, but all the dogs were contained in such a way that they couldn’t fend for themselves. Someone did this to these dogs on purpose. Their basic needs were not provided for, and the caretaker failed to act appropriately.

When a person takes on the responsibility of caring for a domestic creature, whether it be a dog, cat, reptile, rodent, or working animal, basic needs must be provided. The caretaker then has the discretion to truly love the creature.

If you can’t take care of the animal, find someone who will. Re-homing a creature costs less than jail time, legal fees and the hit on your reputation. 

I adopted my dog Thane, pictured above, as a birthday gift to myself four years ago. He is a large Great Pyrenees senior dog, with snow white fur and deep russet eyes. He keeps to himself, and sometimes he might chase a frog or small bird. He loves cats and small children, and  follows basic commands such as sit, lay down, and stay. He dances when he’s happy, and will whip his body around like a 100 pound kite caught in the breeze. 

I have determined that he wants nothing more than food, a cool dry place to sleep, plenty of treats, and as much love as possible. 

When I met him, his back was turned to the world in his small cage, ignoring the other dogs he shared the shelter with. His name was Tank and he weighed 75 pounds. I assumed that it wouldn’t require much to take care of him.

I feel as though we adopted each other, and I have grown as a person as I take care of him to the best of my ability. He continues to be a kind and loving creature, who insists on being loved when the opportunity suits him by shoving his snout underneath an unused hand. 

While I didn’t really know what I was getting into, I made the choice to care for Thane. I always provided the basic needs even when I was annoyed with him. I go without to make sure he is taken care of. It took time for both of us to adjust to each other, but our story isn’t over quite yet. He’s living out his golden years with me, and I’m thankful I have been blessed with such a beautiful companion.

When people want to have a pet as a companion, take this advice to heart. Provide the basics for the creature, and they will love you selflessly. Fail to provide, and you face a lifetime of shame and guilt if you cannot care for the creature you brought into your life on purpose.