For many of us, a pet was our first taste of real responsibility. Whether it was our parents making us scoop out the litter box or change the dog’s water, or if we jumped in head-first as adults, we were reminded that there was a creature whose life depended on whether or not we would do what was required to take care of them.

Unfortunately, many people abandon that sense of responsibility when owning a pet becomes too much for them. Life gets complicated, and pets can be expensive or frustrating or needy. And then, the animal that someone once swore they’d always look after ends up back in a shelter looking for a new home.

Austin Conway understands the hardships of pet ownership. He’s been the proud dad to a German Shepherd named Stella for four years now, and he’s seen firsthand the struggles that come with owning a dog — especially a big dog — like her. He wrote a post sharing the tougher parts of owning a dog (and included some adorable photos of his sweet pup), and for a moment, it seemed like he was going to give up on Stella. But instead, he shared an amazing message that all pet owners should listen to:

“Really hate to be making this post right now…
My girl Stella is just too much to handle sometimes. She is constantly shedding all over my bed and clothes. Is always wanting to go outside at the most inconvenient times. The other day she even stole a piece of bread off of my plate when I wasn’t looking.”

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“And it’s even harder to find an apartment to live in that will take her, since she is a German Shepherd mix. Generally, I always end up paying a higher rent, because only select apartments accept her.”

  “So, I have came to the decision that I will not be giving her up.” 

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“I will continue to deal with pet hair on all of my belongings. I will continue to get out of bed at 6 am or midnight when she’s begging me to go out even though I just took her. I will continue dealing with a food thief.” 

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“I will continue to base my living situation off of her for as long as she’s alive. And I will continue making any sacrifice I SIGNED UP FOR when I adopted her over 4 years ago.”

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“She will continue to be with me no matter what city I move to, however many children I have, or how much of a pain in my ass she can be. She’s family, and if you don’t view an animal in this same way, please do us all a favor and don’t get a pet until you do.”

Austin’s post has gone viral on Facebook, and it’s easy to see why. He makes a great point, and dedicated pet owners everywhere are applauding his dedication to Stella. If only everyone who took home a pet had this same mentality!

Please SHARE this post if you agree with Austin’s important message!

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