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Take care of your pets this summer

It has been ridiculously hot the past few weeks, but that really doesn’t come as any surprise because this is typical of summertime in Alabama – air so hot and so thick with humidity it’s like trying to drink mud through a straw.

While we’ve all gone about our daily routines and tried to keep cool as best we can, there’s one subsection of the population that can’t trot to the nearest air-conditioned building or stop in at a convenience store for an ice-cold beverage if the heat gets to be too much.

That subsection I’m referring to is the animal population in this county, and after some of the things I’ve witnessed in the past few weeks, I felt the need to address the topic of responsible pet ownership.

Irresponsible pet owners are one of my biggest pet peeves.

For the life of me, I will never understand why someone feels the need to own a pet, but then stick it in a tiny pen in the hot yard and barely give it a second thought.

What purpose is that serving?

Instances of irresponsible pet owners are common at any time or season, but I especially get sad this time of year when I see animals confined to a small pen or tied to a short rope or chain who are having to just bake in the unrelenting sunlight day after day.

In fact, on my route to and from work, I’ve seen at least four animals who fit this description.

So what can be done to fix this problem?

Well, for starters, if you have a pet and it is not spayed or neutered, go have it done.

The last thing we need is more unwanted animals being born into this world where they are unwanted, unloved, and uncared for.

The abundance of feral animals makes it very difficult to find decent homes for any of them.

Second, if you have a pet and it must stay outside, please provide it with adequate shade and clean drinking water – something that is imperative during these hot summer months.

A tiny, closed-in, no-ventilation dog or cat house is not adequate and might as well be an oven for the kind of protection it offers on days like we’ve had this week.

Try putting the pen under the shade of a tree or half cover the pen with a tarp if a shade tree isn’t available.

And keep the water clean, and cool. Dirty bowls and filthy water won’t help an animal stay hydrated in the heat.

Third, give your pet some attention and make sure they are taken care of. Animals need proper socialization and attention.

Lastly, if you cannot provide this type of environment for your pet, you may want to consider finding it a home where this kind of attention can be provided.

There is absolutely no sense in owning a pet they you can’t take care of, can’t spend time with, and that is nothing more than a lawn decoration.

Being a responsible pet owner isn’t rocket science, but it does take some time and effort.

If you think you might need to find a different home for your pet, there are organizations, such as Shoals P.A.W.S., who will help you try to find adequate homes.