Dads and the pet they didn’t want

They will take care of it anyways and do a good job, because not doing that would make them a bad person. Doesn't mean they wanted the pet.

Man and dog sitting on stone overlooking hills and valleys together.
Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

Yesterday as I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram trying to find a specific reel I saw a few hours before, I stumbled upon this one:

The AI voiceover says “watch my boyfriend raise the cat he didn’t want.” What follows is a beautiful and wholesome montage of said boyfriend and cat as they go through shenanigans playing, buying pet supplies, travelling on a plane, cat sleeping on his shoulder, cat frolicking in a forest while on a leash, swimming in the sea, and other similar bits.

There are literal memes of the same phenomenon:

Point is, it’s a common enough thing.

I’m gonna just say it: the dads still didn’t want the pets, but someone decided to “gift” them one anyways. It’s now their responsibility. As a dad, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, or person, are you going to tell the other person to take the damn pet where they got it from? It’s a living being. That would make you kind of an asshole.

Now you have two choices:

  1. still do not take care of the animal, which is neglect, or you’re going to be an asshole
  2. or take on the animal, and do your best, because you’re not an asshole, but also make peace with the fact that you are now tied physically and temporally to this ball of fur and there are a lot of things you can no longer do

Taking care of a pet is a huge responsibility. You can’t just up and leave for Lisbon for a week, because who’s going to walk the dog and feed the cat? You can’t stay out randomly during the night with the boys, because Fido at home needs his can of wet food. You now have vet bills, you now need to buy cat food instead of saving up for that thing you’ve wanted to get.

But you’re also a good person, you understand that the pet had zero choice in the matter and that they also deserve a good life, so you’re going to give them one. Reluctantly at first, but then you bond anyways, and then your friends, family, partners make wholesome reels about how amazing you are with the pet you didn’t want.

Meanwhile you’re mourning your life you’re not having, the trip you’re not taking, the LEGO you’re not buying, and the friends you’re not seeing because you’re taking good care of that cat you didn’t want.

If you’re thinking about gifting a pet to someone who doesn’t want pets, please stop. Respect their wishes. Don’t be an asshole and decide how they’re going to live their life going forward, do not impose limitations on their life using a pet.

Let someone take care of that cat or dog or whatever who actually wants to, who is actually in a point in their life where this isn’t a disruption.