Do you really have to own a pet?

It is not uncommon for those of us who might interview for a job in animal welfare to be asked, “Do you own a pet?”  It is a falsely held belief that if you don’t own a pet, then you are not fit to work in the animal welfare profession.  This is a very narrowminded belief.

There are many reasons that a person might not live with a pet and none of them have any impact of a person’s fitness for a job in our profession.  In our profession, we encounter a large portion of our community that really should not own a pet, but they don’t have the sense to give up their pet.

I currently do not own a pet and yet I have fostered countless infant kittens.  But, for some reason, people will raise a skeptical eye at an animal shelter director who doesn’t own a pet.  For some ignorant reason, people will claim that any director that doesn’t own a pet is unfit to make decisions concerning the strays that enter our shelter.

Many of the stray pets that have entered my shelter were, in fact, given a better life once they got away from their previous owner.  Lets face it, there are many bad pet owners and having a pet does not necessarily make you more compassionate.

For many people, owning a pet is a selfish act.  Knowing that your lifestyle would be unfair to a pet is a good reason to not own them.  Besides, many of us who do not have pets at home have plenty of room for the pets we care for in our shelter.  Many of us treat the animals in our care as being our own.