I have some things to say about responsibility.
Our foster dog, Bridget, is suffering from a tick-borne virus. It's not (usually) fatal. It's being treated with antibiotics. She will most likely be fine, after a lengthy time-and-money intensive treatment.
However, it seems a bit suspicious whenever a dog who has obviously been someone's pet shows up at the pound and isn't claimed. Especially in smaller towns. The likelihood that the dog was dumped seems much higher. And when the dog has an illness that's expensive to treat, it seems even higher.
In other news, an acquaintance of mine has a lovely pit mix. She's going to give her away, or surrend her to the pound, or have her put down (hopefully not the latter). Why? Because she's "too hard to handle" has "too much energy" and training is "too expensive."
Newsflash, assholes. When you adopt a pet into your life, you are responsible for that pet. Even if it's hard to handle. Even if it's expensive. Even if it's inconvenient. Even if your circumstances change.
I am not planning to have children. There are a whole bunch of reasons for that, but one of the big ones is that I am not sure I'm willing make the kind of sacrifices good parents make. I'm not sure I'm willing to have other people always come first. I'm not sure I'm willing to keep a job I don't like because I have someone to support. I'm not sure I'm willing to wear the same shoes for years, or be sleep deprived, or eat out only at kid-friendly restaurants. And because I'm not sure I'm willing to do these things, I shouldn't have kids.
It's the same deal with pets. If I'm not willing to pay vet bills--even big, nasty ones, and take training classes--even expensive ones that are at inconvenient times, and curtail where I choose to live, and do a million other things, I shouldn't adopt a pet. No pet. Because when you take responsibility for a creature that depends on your for it's life, it's food, it's medical care, everything, you need to make a commitment to see that creature through thick and thin. A bigger commitment than marriage, in my opinion--when you get married, you aren't promising to take care of someone who can't take care of themselves. It's not a commitment "until something more interesting comes along" or "until it gets too expensive" or "until I decide I don't really like this breed after all." It is--or should be--a lifetime commitment. And not just a commitment to do barely enough to get by--a commitment to take care of that pet the way you'd want to be taken care of if you depended on someone else for everything.
There are a lot of relationships in our lives that we can't choose. We have (I believe) responsibility to people that we didn't necessarily sign on for--our parents are an example of this. Those are tough situations, in which we have to do the right thing, even if it sucks for us, and there was nothing we could have done to avoid it. However, most of the things and people and creatures for which we are responsible are within our control--including and especially kids and pets. And if you can't or won't take care of them properly, then you shouldn't have them. Period.
Nobody is a perfect parent, or a perfect pet owner. However, there's a difference between the occasional fuck-up and discarding the creature in your care when the going gets rough. And, as far as I'm concerned, the latter is just about unforgivable.