HAVING another creature depend almost wholly on you for its survival is a huge responsibility - and being in charge of that animal's behaviour is also an enormous task.
Earlier this week I reported on two dogs that had escaped from their pens.
Their frantic owners tried to find them, only to discover the dogs had wreaked havoc on a neighbour's property, killing a pony and injuring the neighbour's elderly mare.
The terrible incident was a grave reminder of how important it is to keep dogs properly confined.
The owners were left with no choice but to surrender their dogs to the council to be humanely destroyed - a terribly sad outcome for both the dogs and the owners themselves.
Yesterday I sat in court when a mother and son faced charges of failing to appropriately care for their female puppy, a black golden retriever-cross.
The two are accused of failing to provide food or proper vet care for the animal over a 17-day period.
These stories hammer home to me the incredible amount of responsibility we all take on by deciding to become pet owners - and that excuses mean nothing when it is an animal that suffers.
Owning an animal is a privilege, not a right.
Pets depend on us to care for them, to make the best decisions for them, because ultimately it is the animal that pays the price if we don't.