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Hard time for animals in Lebanon

BEIRUT | March 01, 2014, 19h56
Par Vivecca Chatila
Some days I feel like Lebanon needs Animal Education 101. I don’t know if it’s the culture or lack of education on the subject but they really don’t know anything about animals or how to care for their own pets.
If they have a dog, it’s mostly used as an accessory they (by “they” I mean a select few…not everyone) want to keep around the house. If the dog has to go out for a walk, or needs attention, or a bath…who does all that? The owner? Nope. The maids. After 5 PM you can see a swarm of maids walking dogs, both large and small, and obviously not their own.

Lessons that need to be learned:
  1. If you want a pet, you need to take the responsibility to take care of its needs YOURSELF…sort of like having a child….don’t just dump the responsibilities on the nanny and go on your merry way. DEAL WITH IT or don’t have them (both pets or children)
  2. Pets age and grow, just like people. Don’t expect your puppy to stay small and cute. They grow older and also like people, may get health problems. If you can’t handle this, pets are certainly not for you. You’re better off buying flowers or plants.
  3. Pets, just like people, have emotions and react to your own. If you get angry, they get afraid. If you’re violent and hit them, they will remember and depending on its temperament, may become afraid of you/people in general OR will fight back the only way they know how….biting and barking and over time may become dangerous.
  4. Animals are not BORN dangerous…they are provoked
  5. If you have small children, teach them how to act responsibly around the pets.
  6. Pets depend on YOU for food, water, shelter, entertainment and other needs. If you can’t handle having a dependant, then maybe owning a pet, as nice as it may sound in the beginning, it’s not for you. If you hate the responsibility, or can foresee that you may not have the time or effort to take care of them, please do them and yourself a favor and don’t adopt or buy one.
Having worked at Animals Lebanon for while I’ve had my fair share of experience dealing with people who want to give away their pets because of different reasons such as:
  • Old age
  • Sicknesses that the owners don’t want to deal with because it’s costly
  • Just got tired of taking care of them
It makes me wonder if these people have thought the same about their own children. Would they give away the children if they were too difficult to take care of? Would they dump them on the streets if they cried too much? Would they one day just get sick of them and ask them to leave? If they wouldn’t think of doing that to their children, why do that to a poor defenseless animal? I just don’t get the mentality.

On my outings lately, I’ve been seeing things I never saw before. Here are some of the stories, and they may or may not shock you.

Recently at a Lebanese university, somehow a cat got stuck on a building’s second story windowsill. The cat was immobile and scared to death, just meowing for someone to help her come down. As is the habit, students and teachers alike took out their cell phones and started documenting the incident, taking pictures and video. Suddenly a janitor appeared from inside one of the offices, opened the window, and with a broom attempted to swat at the cat so it would FALL from the second story….ultimately to its death. What was he thinking?

In Sassine, thought to be a pretty civilized area, a car sped by at a pretty high speed, with a dog lying down on the outside of its windshield. I wonder what happened to the poor dog when the driver had to hit the brakes.

A large, heavy dog was seen sitting on a cloth awning at a fruit stand, scared to jump from it and fall, with people walking right by the site and nobody offering to help. The owners of the fruit stand didn’t seem to care either. They just said “3ade” and kept on with their business.

Finally, I conclude with this unsolicited advice: if you are thinking of buying a pet because you’re lonely, or just like the idea of having a cute little animal around, please please, I beg of you, think of their own wellbeing and think about how difficult it is to take care of another living breathing creature. If it’s something you REALLY want, go ahead, but if you think you might regret it later, please don’t. We don’t need anymore stray cats or dogs or birds in Lebanon. Thank you.
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