You love your furry friend…or friends. So much so that you buy their favourite food, get little treats, maybe special outfits for the cold, have them groomed, and interrogate prospective dog or cat sitters! You let them sleep on the bed and drink out of the toilet, you get up in the middle of the night to let them out, and you live in fear that they will get lost, sick, old, and the unmentionable.
A friend of mine who loves cats said that he can’t have one of his own precisely because of that potential loss – it’s just too much to bear. When we imagine stability – a good job, a house, car, family and friends – then he’s got it. So if the loss of a pet is too much for him to bear, imagine how much more difficult it is for someone who is not so stable. Imagine how much more devastating that loss is for someone who has no job, no reliable family or friends…for someone who has no home.
A few months ago, on a bitter winter night, a young woman came into the WYC. She had lost her housing and had packed up her beloved cat in a cardboard box. It made getting around the city pretty difficult, but it also kept her from finding a warm place to sleep. Shelters typically don’t take pets. And her own friends were either allergic or had pets of their own, so catching some rest on someone’s couch was out of the question.
She preferred facing the freezing cold rather than face the thought of giving up her furry friend!
This behaviour is not irrational. In fact, it makes sense to hold on to the one thing that provides us love, comfort, even stability. It is exactly the act of caring for a loved one that keeps us grounded, perhaps even sane.
Furthermore, if we are still capable of prioritizing relationships, love, and care, over our own comfort and our own gain, there is hope for us humans yet.
You can support this humane behaviour by making a donation of pet food to your local food bank or drop-in shelter!
To make a donation to the Windsor Youth Centre, please click on the link below.