What To Tell Folks About Adopting Animals

Why do people return animals to shelters? (Don’t you want to know how they could even consider it?)  Shelter workers have heard all the popular excuses:  allergies; new baby; moving; urinates in the house; barks; hard to handle; won’t obey; tail knocked over a vase; dog or cat hair in the house…and on and on.

Please encourage folks you know to: a) adopt from a rescue (don’t patronize breeders) and b) think it through BEFORE taking an animal home. The care of a dog or cat is a 10-18 year commitment that should be taken seriously. The animals we bring into our homes become dependent on us not only for food and shelter, but for their emotional well-being. We become their family. It’s simply cruel to frivolously “throw away” a thinking, feeling, sensitive being because he or she became inconvenient.

Pre-planning is the key. People need to think about what kind of animal will fit into their lifestyle. Do they have the time to devote to the animal? A lonely, bored dog in someone’s backyard is not a happy dog. Consider factors like size (where do they live…apartment, house, farm?), activity requirements, and temperament.  If purebreds are their thing, encourage breed rescues. Shelters are also a good source for purebred dogs and cats.

And, finally, warn about impulsive decisions that they may regret (and the animal will pay for). Attempting to replace one animal with another is not a sound idea. It rarely works out that way.

Adopting/rescuing an animal is a wonderful thing to do…it just takes some thought. Ask a potential adopter this question, “Does the thought of dog/cat hair on your kitchen table make you cringe?” If the answer is “yes,” suggest a stuffed teddy bear.

© Stan Petrey