Friday, March 4, 2011

Food for thought...

I have to admit, I am home more often, so it allows me to watch more television.
I am somewhat ashamed of myself, but yes, I watch reality shows. 
And you want to know what I have been watching marathons of recently?


Yes, I have a shameful obsession right now watching Hoarders.
Hoarders of stuff, and Hoarders of animals...
Now this brings me to the topic I'd like to discuss...

What makes an Animal Hoarder?

 I have to say, my title with a lot of my non-reptile friends is the "Snake Lady". I have many more snakes than most people will own in their lifetimes, and I am absolutely fine with it. 

Does this make me an Animal Hoarder?

This is an interesting topic, and I have to say I had to think about it for a minute. 

Hoarders are people who CANNOT let go of animals, cannot care for themselves and their animals accordingly, and have too many animals for their own good and the good of the animals. They are people that put animals above their own well-being, but to a fault and dissolution of their lives. Emotional and physical problems in regards to the love of the animals, in loving them too much.

Now I realize that that statement is rather dramatic, and some animal hoarders are not as bad as what you would see on the television.

But here is what I have come up with to draw the line between hoarding and a breeder/hobbyist.

A hobbyist is someone who loves the animals, but will not take them for granted and will care for them as much as needed. They are people who can deal with the problems/challenges that come with owning a pet, be it food, medical, housing or physical exercise. These people are willing to do what they need to do for their animals, but will not take in more than they can handle. They care for the animals, and want the best for them, and provide that in whatever form necessary. If they cannot or choose not to care for the animals, they allow someone else to take care of them and find them new homes.

Of course, in the breeders case, they are absolutely willing to allow people to take their animals into new homes. I know I love seeing new pet owners fall in love with the animals I helped create. And of course, I try to be there for each and every person if they have any questions in regards to care of the animals. 

So there it is.

Yes, I do have many snakes. Sometimes there are days where I feel a bit overwhelmed. But, I still push on, I care for them, and I know that I am doing right by them. And if and when I can't, I know I can find someone else who can. And I am alright with that. 

But that won't be for a while still. Not while I have my health and my sanity.

So to all of you out there watching the television shows and thinking about us reptile/snake people, know that I see what you see, and what you may be thinking.
But it is not like that. 

I care for my animals, my house is clean, my animals are healthy. 

And I really feel for those Animal Hoarders out there. I can see where the love is, why they love their animals, but... there comes a point where other things should matter more.

And I know what things matter. 

The health of all of the creatures under my roof, and the love of my friends and family. 

And I'm sure that matters to you all out there too. 

Have a fantastic day, my friends.


Miorbhuil and Malrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan said...

Hey Heather, I'm actually really glad you touched on this topic. I'm an Anthro major and once I get into grad school this is actually something I want to do research on, more specifically what the reptile community finds normal in terms of collection size. There's lots of misconceptions around people who keep lots of animals and I hope that eventually more light can be shown on this issue so we all don't look like complete nuts.

Jackie said...

I'm starting to feel a bit harried at 15 animals. I could not handle another dog, and I'm starting to feel the crunch on having many more snakes--EVEN AS I'M TRYING TO BREED THEM. I don't know how you cope with 200!

Krystal said...

Yeah, I have friends and family who would more readily put me in the hoarder category than simply having a hobby. Most of that, though, stems from their inability to cope with the fact that (1) I love snakes and (2) it's easy to care for a lot of snakes than most other non-reptile pets. (Ignorance of reptiles and the refusal to even try--or want--to understand is the crux of this problem.)

I think you're dead-on when you say the difference stems from knowing where one's limit is in terms of caring for the snakes and being able to act on that limit. I've tried to finagle my entire long-term breeding plan to as few snakes as possible because I know my limit--even when I have a larger income--is far, far less than 200 snakes because I have lots of hobbies and like to have time for each of them.