STFU Parents: Parents Who Displace Their Pets Because They Have A Baby

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A few years ago, I began a quest to understand why so many parents are willing to discuss discarding their pets on social media. Not that I don’t understand the reasons behind pet abandonment; it’s just that the majority of those reasons are never good enough for me. The only reasons I’m willing to accept for getting rid of a dog or cat are that the pet has suddenly turned violent, or the pet’s medications have exceeded a family’s budget. If your dog tried to bite off your baby’s face or your cat’s insulin is breaking the bank, and you’re all suffering for it, then okay, consider other homes for your pet. But if you’re simply not in the mood to take care of your cat or dog anymore because you have a tiny new human accessory that craves all of your attention, please don’t tell everyone on Facebook about it. Some of us would rather not know, because we’re never quite going to understand.

Here’s what I do understand: Pets like cats and dogs are needy and stupid. No matter how intelligent your furry friend is, he or she is still not smart by human standards, which can lead to accidents, large vet bills, ruined furniture, etc. I know this because I have a cat that got his leg caught in a lamp wire last year, which turned into his doting “parents” spending a small fortune on surgical leg amputation. (And guess what? He’s still an idiot.) I also know this because my new neighbor’s dog “digs” at the wall that separates our bedrooms, so every morning, whenever that dumb canine wakes up, he claws his way into my REM sleep without abandon. Pets can wreak havoc and cause us to rearrange our lives in unpredictable or unwelcome ways — but that doesn’t mean it’s cool to casually discard them or shoot them in the head when they piss on the floor too much. And even if you think those things do constitute re-homing, death, or abandonment, I strongly believe that an animal’s quality of life shouldn’t be of less importance than a human’s. With that said, I also understand why jokes like this get made:


Many years ago, when STFU, Parents was still in its infancy, I posted a similar submission that had a much more serious undertone. A woman was “joking” about serving her neighbor’s dogs a salad with “antifreeze dressing” (still a truly inspired murder strategy), and the readers’ reactions were so intense, I had to take down the post. A few months later, I posted an even more controversial example, this time written by a woman who was laughing off the fact that her one-year-old had smushed, aka “cuddled,” a kitten to death. I wound up taking down that post, as well, and I learned a good lesson: Unless you’re prepared to potentially upset your friends with “abuse anecdotes,” you should probably keep them to yourself. For every person who thinks it’s funny to joke about killing animals or watching their kids torture their pets, there are far more people who think it’s a bummer.


Dammit, kids, get your sticky, dirty, grubby paws off of Cleo the cat!! What the hell did Cleo do to deserve to have “hands of fur” yanked out of her body as her “cat mom” looked on in amusement, typing about it on Facebook like some kind of mean girl? Who among this family will serve as Cleo’s advocate if her trusted owner thinks it’s funny to watch her get tortured by tiny sadists? I know that parents aren’t often able to give as much energy or attention to their pets after babies come along, but that doesn’t have to mean that the kids come first and the dog comes twenty-third. Plus, some people are so overprotective of their kids, their inner mama bear starts perceiving ALL dogs (and cats!) as lethal predators. When you assume every furry animal is a feral threat to your child, you entertain some pretty twisted rationale.


Yep, make sure you carry that gun everywhere you go so you can quickly kill any off-leash dogs that cross your child’s path! Who has time to wait for a school bus to smash into rabid canines these days?! Just grab your concealed weapon from your handbag, flip it around three times like you’re in a Western, and shoot those motherfuckers dead! It’s the dog owner’s fault for not using an electric fence, or keeping the dog crated in a secluded basement or something. Everyone knows dogs shouldn’t roam free, and since many municipalities have leash laws, it’s perfectly within a parent’s right to play target practice with a dog’s head. Thankfully, in Lorraine’s case, the universe stepped in to destroy the wild beasts before they got to little Penelope. If they hadn’t been smashed by a large vehicle, Penelope could’ve been injured. I mean, probably. Who knows. All that matters is those dogs’ legs don’t work anymore.

But you see, instances like this one are why so many parents choose to displace their pets. They’re under the impression that kids and pets don’t mix, so pets are better off with another place to live, even if that place is “heaven.” Sure, parents don’t always want to abandon their beloved animals or drop them at the front door of kill shelters, but when your number’s up, it’s up! Parents have no qualms asking their friends and acquaintances online if they’re in the market for a new companion, because what good is social media if you can’t re-home your family cat to someone you know (or maybe someone they know)? The first time I ever saw a friend try to get rid of his pets, he stated it matter-of-factly: “Hey guys, we’re moving to a new state, and the cats aren’t coming with us. Anyone want two cats? They’re super awesome cats, we’ll miss them, but um, yeah. Who wants to take two cats off our hands??” Then once every five days for about a month he would pop up and go, “Hey friends, time is running out before we move, and we’d *really* like to not have to put down our cats or leave them at an overcrowded shelter. It deeply, horribly pains us that they aren’t making the journey to Indiana with us—ahhh, if only the state of Indiana allowed pet cats!!—BUUUT for real, though, who’s going to take these cuties and give them the “forever home” that we no longer want to give them?” In the end, I have no idea what happened with the cats, but something tells me it didn’t look like one of those commercials where freshly-brushed felines lay amongst satin pillows and wet food served in crystal goblets.

If you’re getting rid of your pet, you can use social media to spread the word if you WANT to, but consider the impression it might have on your pet-loving friends. It’s one thing to announce that you’re irritated with your dog for shitting on the kitchen floor (which, honestly, who cares), versus announcing that you’re unable to continue caring for your dog because you’re too busy obsessing over your baby. I’ll personally never respect that as a good reason, and I’m confident there are more people like me in the average person’s network than not. So to all you parents opting out of pet ownership—for whatever reason—I respect your right to ditch your pets, but your Facebook posts make me sad and angry, and no, I’m not looking to adopt your four-year-old beagle (but please don’t put him down and tell everyone about it). Let’s check out some examples.

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