Okay, it’s flashback time.

I grew up in the decade of the 1980s. What a time to be alive! Mostly because, in retrospect, there were a lot of trends that were, well, rather embarrassing. From leg warmers to Jelly shoes to overly permed hair (yep, I had them all), the photos from that era could be really good blackmail material today.

There may or may not be a photo of me in a family album somewhere in our basement where I’m wearing socks that match my shoelaces that match my belt that match my earrings (plastic, as always) that match my headband that match my bracelets. Spoiler alert: the photo exists.

Then there were the video games of the ‘80s. Today’s practically virtual video games put the old Atari hits like “Pitfall,” “Frogger” and “Pong” to shame. To think we were impressed with those LEGO-like graphics. Yikes.

I still can’t complete a Rubik’s Cube. No matter how many times someone tries to explain it to me, I just can’t get it. What can I say? My brother got the math and science genes.

I have to tell you, I’m taking this trip down memory lane because I’ve noticed another trend that seems to be popping up lately – particularly on cars. Have you seen these stickers on the windows of cars now that depict the family? Presumably there’s a sticker for each person from dad to mom to the number and gender of the kids?

It never ceases to amaze me what will become popular.

Although recently I noticed a lineup of sticker family members on the back of a minivan that gave me pause. And made me smile. There was a dad sticker, a mom sticker, and maybe three kids and behind the kids, there was a dog sticker and two cat stickers.

So at first I thought, oh man, those stickers are becoming quite the craze, but then I got to thinking, wait a minute, if this row of stick figures really is supposed to represent the family, what a great statement it makes to include the pets.

In the almost 20 years I’ve been with the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, one of my fervent wishes is that more people would see their animals as part of the family. I think if that would happen, we wouldn’t have quite as many pets dropped off to animal shelters when the going got tough or training issues reared their ugly heads.

While I know we’ve come a long way in regard to animal rights and welfare since the time when, say, my parents were growing up, and we’ve certainly made strides since the days of the covered wagon and the Mayflower, we still have a need for a place to care for unwanted pets – like animal shelters. And sadly, a lot of times it’s because people see animals as very disposable – if they aren’t working, simply get rid of them.

I have to wonder if we could change attitudes a bit – maybe have animals be seen as a true part of the family – would shelters see a decline in pets being surrendered?

Would you stop for a moment before getting rid of your pet if there was a sticker on your back window that depicted your dog or your cat?

It’s at least a nice idea and I like to think that maybe those silly stick figures on cars might be a step in the right direction. If people start to see depictions of families that include the cats and dogs, maybe people will start to recognize the value and worth of our animals.

Sometimes change starts with very small steps. I take comfort in that.

Isn’t it amazing what popular trends really might be able to do? It almost makes me want to see if I can finally figure out that Rubik’s cube.

Almost.

 

*******

Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at cvascomm@cvas-pets.org. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at: (717) 263-5791, or visit the website at: www.cvas-pets.org. CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.

 

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