Adopting pets, saves lives. It’s extremely rewarding and you’ll change a life forever, but a rescue dog or cat should only be adopted once!
It sounds simple, and yet sometimes, it isn’t.
Sadly there are times when dogs and cats find themselves being rehomed to the wrong family or the wrong home; boomeranging backwards and forwards to different rescue centres, looking for yet another new home to try. Not only is this incredibly sad, it can cause more trauma, leading to behavioural problems.
To help avoid this and to help you find the right match for you, your family and your pet, ask yourself the following 5 questions:
- Will my new pet fit in with my lifestyle?
- Do I have enough space in my home and is it safe and secure enough?
- Do I have the time to provide the right level of care?
- Will I have the time to provide enough daily exercise, enrichment, mental stimulation and grooming?
- Is everybody in the family happy and wanting to invite a pet into your home?
If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, it’s time to make an appointment to visit your local rescue centre, but the questions don’t stop there.
Visiting a rescue centre:
You might imagine that upon walking into the rescue centre, you’ll lock eyes with a dog or cat and feel that you’re destined to be together, but we recommend visiting with an open mind, be open to surprises and ask these questions before making a life changing decision:
What does the future hold?
Ask shelter staff about a prospective dog or cat’s size, energy level, personality, grooming requirements and other characteristics that are important to you. Is the dog/cat good with children and with other dogs and cats?
What is your soon-to-be pet's history?
How did he/she end up at the rescue shelter? Was your prospective dog or cat picked up as a stray, or did a previous owner have to rehome due to illness/ divorce etc? Generally speaking, the behaviour of an animal who has survived the streets will differ from that of a relinquished family pet.
Has he/she been behaviour-checked?
Some rescue shelters conduct very thorough behaviour assessments and can provide insight into whether a particular dog/cat is a good fit for your lifestyle. For example, if a dog you're interested in has very high energy, but you're looking for a nap-loving pooch, it’s probably not the best match.
Has the dog or cat been abused?
If you know or suspect a dog or cat was abused, it's important to keep two things in mind: Don’t expect an overnight change and you shouldn't count on a complete turnaround in trust level or behaviour.
It takes time to help an abused animal learn to be less fearful and develop trust in humans again. But with patience it can happen.
What veterinary care have they received?
You should be given paperwork detailing the medical care they’ve received at the shelter.
What food has the dog/cat been eating?
IAMS supported rescue shelters will send adopted pets home with a supply IAMS food that they've been eating, but if this isn't the case, ask what they’re feeding and continue that diet for at least a week or two before changing to a high quality diet such as IAMS for Vitality.
Pet adoption is a wonderful and fulfilling gift that saves lives, it’s something we should all consider doing, but remember that all dogs and cats are individuals, each with individual needs, but they all need a secure place to call home.
You can give them the gift of home. Adopt a pet today, change a life forever.