Most people think that getting a dog is cool. They think it is a symbol of luxury. But what they don’t realize is that getting a dog is actually a responsibility (a sweet responsibility). So when they notice how much their lives have been changed by the presence of a dog, they get scared and abandon their pet. 

But hopefully, professional baseball player Austin Conway has tried to raise awareness. He wants people to know what it’s like to have a dog and how your entire life can change. He took Facebook to explain everything. He says that “I had seen several posts a few days prior to people looking to [give up] their dogs”. 

He also says that “The reasons behind rehoming were things like shedding, potty-training issues, hyperness, not enough space, difficulty finding rental housing, etc. All of which, in my opinion, are foreseeable responsibilities and factors that should be taken into consideration before making the decision to welcome an animal into your family. So, after seeing these, I just had an urge to create my post about my German Shepherd mix Stella in a way to spread the message that a pet is a lifetime choice”. 

The most positive thing about this was that people have liked what Conway tried to explain. And also, his post went viral immediately. 

Austin’s concerns are totally justified and the increased number of pets in animal shelter houses is its proof. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that more than millions of dogs end up in shelter houses in the U.S. each year. And it’s only because the owners are ready to take their responsibility. People usually rehome their pets because the animal grows larger than expected, has aggressive behavior, or some kind of health problems. 

Out of the number of dogs getting abandoned, 1.6 million are adopted, 620,000 are reunited with their families, and nearly 670,000 are euthanized.

The best thing is that the relationship between Austin and Stella, the dog, is getting stronger day by day. About adopting a dog, he says that “I actually wasn’t planning on choosing any dog the day I went to the shelter”.

He also says that “I just happened to see a post on my Facebook about a German Shepherd mix litter that had been surrendered to a shelter close to my college. So, being the German Shepherd lover that I am, I drove over just to look, for fun. Which was a big ‘mistake’”.

“I immediately saw Stella and couldn’t put her down. She was the smallest and quietest one of the bunch and looked to be the one getting the least amount of attention. So, I went from not planning on getting a dog at all, to having her claimed and the adoption deposit paid within 1 hour of being there. Was by far the best decision I’ve ever made.”

About Stella, Austin says that “She loves walks, but if it’s too long of one, she’s sure to let me know she’s not having it. She’s extremely vocal. It’s one of her best and funniest qualities. She’s needy but in a good way. She always wants to have her paw on someone and hates to be alone. She’s as close to human as I’ve ever seen a dog be. She’s perfect”.

In his post, Austin talks about a common issue that most pet parents face and i.e. the difficulty in finding a perfect home. It is because the landlord thinks that dogs can cause a huge amount of damage. Austin says that “It’s difficult but do-able. Many apartments have restrictions on ‘aggressive’ breeds. So, the few times I’ve had to apartment-hunt, my list was always extremely small because I’ve been limited to properties that accept German Shepherds.”

But the wonderful thing is that Austin knew what he was getting into and how drastically his life will be changed after getting a dog. And he was prepared. He says that “I’ve always done my due diligence and made sure I found any and all apartments in the cities I’ve lived in that would accept her. And from there, I began looking for the best fit after I was certain Stella was welcome.”

Austin thinks that renters with pets and landlords can have the best relationship. But for this, people have got to stop believing stereotypes when it comes to dog breeds like Rottweilers, German Shepards, and Pit Bulls. He also says that “Some of the sweetest dogs I’ve been around are dogs that are labeled as an ‘aggressive’ breed.”

“However, I also understand rental properties needing to protect themselves from potential liability involving incidents with tenants and their pets. So, it’s an issue that’s definitely not as simple as being black and white, and until the stereotypes around these breeds are gone, I don’t see it changing anytime soon. Just thankful for the rental properties that do allow these breeds to accommodate for pet owners like myself.”

People applauded Austin’s sincere words

Do you like this post? If yes, don’t forget to share it and raise awareness about what it’s like to be a pet parent.