I'm not sure if I am the only adopted person who has thought about the comparisons of pet adoption and human adoption, but I think about it at any rate. My husband and I have adopted two rescue dogs from our local shelter. Cleo, our black Labrador Retriever went to doggy heaven a year ago and was 17 years old at her passing. Bella, our Westie is 9 years old. They have brought our family so much joy, and we consider them our family.
Now as much as we love our pets my extended adoptive family takes it to a new level. My parents at one time had five dogs, which they affectionately call their babies. When one of them passed away a few years ago, my parents fell into a heavy depression and my dad would say things like " I have nothing to live for." He was put on medication and seemed to better adjust. This hurt so badly to know that we were not as important or even more important. What about your daughters? your wife? Your amazing, and beautiful grandbabies? My father has opened up in the past that he felt like he had an unhappy upbringing and zero good childhood memories. I now understand that my fathers reactions are a mental health issue, and stem from the thoughts that he truly believes that no one can love you like a dog loves you. A dogs love is unconditional. When my father comes to my house the first thing he says, is "where are my babies?" He's referring to my dogs, and not my children. They moved to Florida, 1,180 miles away and maybe see their grandchildren once or twice a year, and my dogs get his love and attention first. The last time he came to visit he asked if I could drive his to the store so he could buy a special gift for his grand dog. It makes me want to scream.
They are not the only ones in my family who seem to have an unhealthy relationship with dogs...meaning I believe they also share the beliefs that a humans love cannot compare to the love from our pets. Once again, I LOVE my dogs. I even adore them, BUT I also adore people. It's a subject that makes me feel like a big outsider in my family.
Quite honestly it also bothers me that people seem to be more upset by unethical dog adoptions, than they are human beings. The following list details pet adoption ethics.
* by law puppies must stay with mother at least 8 weeks to avoid social and emotional distress and trauma Often times babies are adopted at birth and papers often signed while the mother is still recovering. People deny that those adopted suffer trauma from being separated from their mother and family.
* You must be able to provide the time and money necessary to provide training, medical treatment and proper care for the animal. What if when babies were adopted, part of the signed documents were a promise and dedication for adoptees mental health? Lifetime counseling?
* Pets are not gifts They are living, breathing beings. And yet we tell adopted humans they are a gift, and not very many people seem to be educated or care about the rehoming of humans.
* So many speak up about cruelty to animals. And yet never say a word, or make a facebook statement about cruelty to humans.
* They say adopt, don't shop. We spend thousands of dollars on adopting humans.
I love animals, BUT I also love humans. If I were to speak out about any of these subject regarding animals, I guarantee I would find a large number of those who support these issues. When I speak up about being adopted, I'm told to get over it, move on, and you should just be grateful. I cannot even imagine the backlash of someone mistreating a dog, and the response being " well the dog should just be grateful it wasn't euthanized. The dog should just be grateful even if it struggled. Gasp!! The horror!!
Sometimes I hug my dog ( she's not a hugger, it makes her highly uncomfortable) and I look into her big puppy eyes, and I tell her I missed my mom too. I bet you got all of your cuteness from your mama. I bet she misses you everyday, and if we could have brought her home also, we would have.
They say that some people are born a little broken. Maybe my dad felt this way, that somethings needed fixing within him. I sometimes wonder if they thought I could fix some broken things like a marriage, a need to be loved, infertility. A baby to fill holes and broken hearts. In Glennon Doyle's book, Carry On Warrior, she says:
If there's a silver lining to the hole, here it is: the unfillable, God-sized hole is what brings people together. I've never made a friend by bragging about my strengths, but I've made countless by sharing my weakness, my emptiness, and my life as-a-wild-goose-chase-to-find-the-unfindable. Maybe because other people are the closest we get to God on this side. So when we use them to find God in each other we become holy.
I cannot fix, a baby cannot fix, even a pet cannot fix what needs to be healed, but we can heal what needs to be fixed by going straight to where it hurts. Go straight to the fire, and determine what caused the burn, and know that our loved ones may not be able to fill our holes, but they can hold our hand/ paw through the journey.