Our pets are not human, but we sure are.
We are compulsive, big-hearted humans. We have the very best of intentions. We fall in love with the furry, the scaly, the clawed and the be-whiskered, and we are so very sure that getting a pet will be rewarding, satisfying and all-in-all hunky-dory.
And, like every other human, we are so flawed, and often wrong.
Welcome to the pets section on Craigslist.
Craigslist, for the uninitiated, is a local website that provides free classified ads for anything you need to sell, want to buy, care to hire or choose to provide. Many cities have their own Craigslist—ours is http://baltimore.craigslist.org. On Craigslist, you can buy a house, sell your couch, advertise your new gutter-cleaning business, announce your neighborhood’s yard sale or find a local seamstress.
And, you can re-home your pet if you can no longer care for it.
Right now on Craigslist, our neighbors are looking to re-home a snow cornsnake, a dwarf rabbit with its cage, two guinea pigs, a baby ferret, a rat, an improbable pit bull/husky/dalmation mix, a Chihuahua and literally countless other dogs and cats.
Are some of these people looking to find new homes for their pets simply irresponsible and careless pet owners? Sure, probably. Are some of them completely heartbroken at the prospect of having to re-home a beloved companion? Absolutely.
Connie Pennington of Lutherville posted an ad to re-home her dog. “Our daughter is allergic and we must find a new home for our 6-year-old Beagle, Reed,” her ad reads. “We can't sell the kid so we have to find the dog a new home.” Pennington sounds fairly matter-of-fact in her ad, and even attempts to have a sense of humor about the situation. But if you contact her, you’ll hear a whole different tone.
“We are now and always will be extremely sad to have to give Reed to another home,” Pennington said. “The last pet we had we had for 15 years, from puppy to death. That's how it's supposed to be. This is one of the toughest decisions of my life.”
Lots of people try to be helpful on Craigslist. You can find a hermit crab lover who took the time to help you keep your souvenir from Ocean City alive. Did you know that hermit crabs need both fresh water and salt water pools in their cage to stay alive? No? That’s why your last hermit crab died. Now you can be smarter. Thank goodness for Craigslist.
It is not okay to sell an animal on Craigslist. You cannot be a dog breeder and post an ad for your puppies for sale. You cannot try to stud out your should-have-been-neutered male pet, either. Craigslist permits adoptions only. A small re-homing fee is okay. Some people who place ads do insist on a rather large re-homing fee, but it’s not the same as selling their pet. An ad for a ball python explains a high re-homing fee rather bluntly: “Re-homing fee to discourage resellers, $60.”
In other words, if you put your money where your mouth is, the advertiser of the animal is more likely to trust your intentions of being a good, responsible pet owner.
Editor's Note: Ads on Craiglists expire and can be removed at any time by posters. We apologize in advance for any broken links.