You can feel it in your bones….the anticipation of getting that new pet to join the family. Many people often want to get a young puppy or kitten over adoption of an adult or senior pet. Believe me, I get that; especially if you have lost a pet you just can’t see yourself going through the heartache of another pet loss so soon again so a younger pet is what you’ve set your heart on. But don’t rule out a mature pet.
Sadly, there is an pet overpopulation epidemic amongst shelters where too often pets are surrendered after some time with their families. In a few cases, the surrenders may be warranted – family medical issues or a physical or financial inability to care for the pet are two such cases. The other situations, in which they are not the pets’ fault either, can often be avoided – behavior, time commitments, lifestyle – if the new owners take the time to get informed before adding that new pet. Not every animal is lucky enough to get out of a shelter and have a home.
If getting a young puppy or kitten, proper breeders will likely screen you before sending the baby home with you. If some circumstances, they may also have provisions to take the animal back if things aren’t working. Buying a pet off Kjiji or from a friend of a friend of a friend will not likely grant you that opportunity and you will have to make the decision to work through the issues or re-home the animal. Shelters may allow you to return an adoption but think about the stress placed on an animal of changing homes by getting adopted and after a couple of weeks getting dumped right back in the shelter. Older animals (not necessarily senior pets) have a leg up here as often their personalities are already established and known about.
This is where the idea of rescue groups and foster pets can truly shine. The “adopt don’t shop” movement also gains ground here. If you’re working with a well organized rescue group, they will interview you before an adoption and likely also visit your home and want a letter from your veterinarian. This may seem like a lot of hurdles but it really is for the best interest of the animal and it also tests your commitment. The next step may be called fostering to adopt or foster failing. I like to think of it as dating the potential pet before you make that lifelong commitment.
Just a few weeks of sharing your home with a foster pet allows you to get to know each other. Does the dog have separation anxiety? Does kitty destroy furniture and mark everywhere? Are you able to commit the time to walking, playing, training, and cleaning up after your new pet? How do your current pets and your potential new furry family member interact? These things and more can be answered during a trial period. It’s as much about making sure the pet is right for you as you are a good match for the pet.
This is where I’m at now with the little guy Jennifer & I are fostering. Ti-Loup (soon to officially be Rudy) ended up with Friends of Willow Rescue after his family realized he was too active for their lifestyle. So far we have noted that the possibility of some separation anxiety exists and we have discovered that he gets along with our cats. He certainly is an energetic guy and quite the intelligent dog so we are looking forward to getting to know him better and help meet his needs. In general, he has fit in well and has been very compatible. I only hope he doesn’t think the Christmas tree is an indoor bathroom!
So before you put a collar on that cat or dog, make sure you take the time to consider all the aspects of adding a pet to your family, no matter where they come from. Doing this can save them from the stress of changing homes and you from the heartbreak of having to part with an adoring animal. And don’t forget what a great option fostering a pet or adopting from a group or shelter can be for everyone!
Disclaimer: All blog posts are may be opinions and do not reflect those of my current or any former employers.
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