For you to know if you belong in the animal scene from the perspective of an animal lover. 

Recently, our managing editor Jeff chose to disperse a huge part of his private menagerie of animals, which included tarantulas, tegus, turtles, ball pythons, dogs, and more. This was because the man who helps him care for the animals can no longer help him out, and Jeff made the difficult decision to search for responsible, caring new owners for his charges instead of trying to hang on to them.

Some people thought he was foolish for not selling them to the highest bidder; after all, in his decades of experience, Jeff has accumulated some truly admirable species. But for one, it’s not easy taking care of that many pets. In the course of our work, we’ve met many keepers, and many of the successful ones who care for more than one species of animal admit that their support system—from family members who respect their passion, to employees who help them care for the animals, to friends in the hobby who give good advice—is what keeps them going. I respect the hobbyists and keepers who persist alone, caring for their animals as best they can, because it’s not easy.

And this is why we at Animal Scene are strongly against irresponsible collectors who simply buy animals because they are “uso” or in vogue, or think a dangerous creature will make them seem more “macho” to others, or who like having trophy pets. These people are on the same level as those people who buy purebred dogs and cats then abandon the same or resell them the moment the animals fall ill because they can’t be bothered to take care of the creatures.

No apologies for this declaration: these kinds of people are despicable, and every responsible veterinarian, breeder, keeper, hobbyist, and even the casually interested will agree with us. An animal is a commitment; we will never tire of saying this over and over. You commit to learning as much as you can to give it the best kind of life possible.

This includes finding out how to acclimatize it, giving it the ideal diet, understanding its temperament and needs, providing veterinary care, and any other kind of care the creature needs. And with certain types of pet animals, this means giving it love and making it a cherished member of your family.

And this also includes patience and perseverance when the animal has a problem. Jeff is currently working on an article for a future Animal Scene issue.

Can you give a differently able pet the special care it needs and the love it deserves?

which will feature how he and a young veterinarian brought a vicious dog back to its old, friendly self. He was bitten and attacked in the process, but he didn’t give up because he believed in his commitment to the animal, which he had bred and given away.

Now, while you needn’t go to the extent he did, not being able to provide the rest for your pet means you do not belong on the animal scene. Period.

But if you love your pet and are working hard to give it the best care and to learn about it, the local animal scene definitely needs more intelligent, responsible, and ideal keepers like you. May your tribe multiply!