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| Article Specs|
Article ID: 2789
Age Group: Adult
Posted: May 8th. 2000
by Patricia Telesco
Neo-pagans and witches are notorious animal lovers. This isn't a bad thing, but there times and places for our creature features, and times when animals are best kept at home. Since I know that this article will cause a flurry of pro and con responses, let me state emphatically that I love animals, but I don't always love them at an event, particularly indoor ones.
To explain, indoor gatherings and events equate to smaller spaces. This means that animals can easily get under foot and possibly trip unwary passers-by. Additionally not all pet owners are conscientious about training their animals not to jump on others, and even with such training not all creatures take well to crowded, tight spaces (heck, not all humans do!). Additionally, if someone has spent money to see a speaker I suspect they may not appreciate a side show, no matter how cute or playful.
Outdoor events present hazards to the pet. Above and beyond people who may be allergic to animals, or those who may simply not be comfortable with them, there are all kinds of plants that can make animals sick. This means that any pet attending an outdoor event should be carefully secured to a specific area to avoid this kind of danger.
That having been said, we all know there are times when it's very hard to get a pet sitter or pay for care at a reputable facility on top of an event's costs. When this happens PLEASE follow the following guidelines:
Always, always (did I say ALWAYS) contact the event coordinator and ask if bringing the animal would be acceptable. Never just show up at the gate with an animal and expect to be allowed on site.
If it is "ok" find out what rules, if any, must be followed and then follow them like a bible so that you will be granted this privilege again.
Think of your pet. If they get nervous around crowds and strangers, taking them to an event is plain cruel. You might love it, but the pet will be a basket case. Also consider the animal's personality. Those with a tendency to jump, bark all night, and get into garbage probably aren't the best choices for a camping event, for example.
Think of the area in which the event is being held and how much you're willing to constrain your pet from the freedoms it normally has. Will the creature be comfortable and happy? If not, find a way to leave him or her home.
Take everything your pet will need -- food, extra bottled water, flea collar, leash (if applicable), etc.
Be considerate of others. Just because this is a magickal event doesn't guarantee that everyone is animal-friendly.
Also take everything YOU will need for proper pet care (like a pooper-scooper). Be diligent about clean up, please.
|This note from Rowan is also invaluable...|
Great article(s) in the Witches Voice! I would like to add my own personal reasons for often not bringing my dog, Mojo, to events:
Dogs are pack animals, and territorial. Unless a dog has been socialized allot from puppyhood with other people and animals, and has traveled frequently with its human companions, a dog is not going to be happy to be thrust amongst a bunch of strangers in a strange and potentially hostile territory! Occassionally I am unable to find reliable pet care at home and I am forced to bring him along. When I do I (try to) make certain to pack his food as individual servings in zip-lock baggies, give him only bottled water, pack leashes and long chains, as well as dog chews and toys, pack a bit of Gatorade, just for him, pack a shovel and baggies for his "droppings", and try to make him a spot in my camp where he can go to be away from people, should he need some "down-time".
Unless the dog (or other pet) is fully acclimated to being outdoors in all types of weather/environmental conditions, all the time, your dog/pet may suffer from the temperature/environment extremes that are frequently experienced at outdoor Gathering events. Heat/cold related illness, dehydration, eating spoiled/contaminated food, exposure to biting insects/poisonous reptiles, etc. can all be potentially fatal phenomena that your pet may be exposed to.
No matter how good nature the dog/pet, Gathering stress effects all! Signs of stress in pets (and humans!) include: dehydration, diarrhea, constipation, irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety, excess energy, lethargy, excess aggressiveness, excess passiveness, etc. Knowing that your pet may suffer HUGE negative consequences if your pet surcomes to one or more of these conditions, why take the chance? Do you really want to have your beloved pet destroyed (not to mention the legal/civil penalties) if your normally passive pet bites someone?
My German shepard, Mojo, is trained for Search and Rescue, and bringing him to Gatherings is part of his training. Nonetheless, I rarely bring him with me now because of the aforementioned threats that Gathering environments pose to him -- I love him too much to put him at unnecessary risk.
I personally like to see animals at Gatherings -- it seems somehow more "tribal". But common sense must prevail -- we are not a true tribal people, we are a bunch of friends/acquaintances/strangers camping together. When considering whether or not to bring a pet, always consider first what is in your pet's best interest, and second what is in the community's best interest. I know (from those who have "dog-sat" for me in the past) that Mojo pines for me when I am not at home -- he mopes around the house, whines at the door, and sometimes even stops eating for a couple of days. All of this makes me sad, for I hate for him to be unhappy. But, I'd rather he be unhappy and ALIVE, then travelling with me and possibly be exposed to something FATAL. His line of training (SAR) is hazardous enough!
Just my two cents worth...
Bright blessings on all of our non-human friends!
Thank You Rowan for sharing this!
If you have a positive experience, thank the event coordinator (remember your behavior will influence future decisions about pets too). Also share this information with other responsible pet owners for future consideration.
The Witches' Voice
May 16th., 2000
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Location: Amherst, New York
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