In response to a recent plea for donations my mother and I went to the Surrey SPCA with blankets, towels, newspaper and food. Upon arriving we saw several cars pull up unloading their contributions for the society. My mother had never stepped into a place like this preferring instead to go to her local pet store for a look and a cuddle of a puppy. Inside this building contained the hustle and bustle of dedicated staff and volunteers who make it their mission to aid in the health and safety of dogs, cats and other suffering animals.
Amidst the bundles of donations arriving every minute was the signing of an adoption of a dog named “Jersey.”. A man had come in and decided that this was the dog for him, with paperwork and leash in hand he left as a new pet parent. Jersey had half a look of uncertainty and half a look of happiness with a wagging tail. Let’s hope their partnership is a loving and long one.
Meanwhile, a little Chihuahua who had been found was being cuddled by the front desk clerk. Too scared and shivery to be left in the kennel he was nestled in the jacket of the staff member. This temporary home was just right until they find his parent which might come sooner than later as a missing dog report possibly matches his description.
When I checked the dog kennels, which were too loud for my Mum to go into, it was hard to see them there. They were distressed, sad and in a cold environment that well-meaning people try to keep to standard of cleanliness. However, nothing can replace the need for a real home and connection with family. It is helpful to remember that during this season of giving this is one charity that could use our help but it is also the time when people may decide to buy a dog, cat or other companion.
As always lets all try to be realistic before adopting or buying.
* They need a forever home – if you aren’t in it for the long haul than don’t buy.
* Always spay and neuter your pet. If you don’t believe that it is important then go down to your city pound and stare into the eyes of hundreds of abandoned or abused animals. We don’t need anymore casualties of human stupidity.
* Just like there are special needs children there are also special needs pets. If you can’t afford hypo-allergenic food, should allergies arise, or specialized treatment for injury or disease then don’t buy or adopt a pet. These things do come up and as a former pet parent of a dog with allergies I was willing to set aside my dollars for her care.
* Pets need training and some need more than others. If your time will not be allocated to basic socialization and training then say “No” to pet ownership. What makes a happy family and pet is the ability to instill rules and training that make sense. Spoiling or yelling at your pet is not a long term solution to behaviour problems. Be responsible.
* If you are a family on the go and are not there most of the day – perhaps a dog is not for you. They are pack oriented and leaving them alone for hours is not in their best interest. They must have stimulation, fun, attention and they can’t get that if you leave them in your backyard, a crate or house all day.You come home beat from your day and they are a bundle of energy waiting to play. Not the best situation. However, if you can afford a dog walker, sitter or daycare then maybe this is workable but that is dependent on your pet’s personality.
* If you have children assess their maturity to handle a new pet and make them responsible too. I once worked in a clinic in which a poor puppy came in twice for broken legs because the boy was too rough with the dog. Finally, matters had to be taken into hand in order to protect the puppy. This is not an ideal situation.
* Medication costs! In that same clinic I witnessed people talking on cell phones outside while smoking a cigarette after complaining about the cost of medication they were prescribed for their dog. Priority needs to be set with this new life that is in your care. If you can afford to smoke and find other pleasurable activities then it should be said you can afford to help out a living, breathing soul dependent on your kindness and compassion.
Right now there are thousands of dogs, cats and other animals needing homes. When will it be that people can fully see the value of finding these ones homes before breeding new ones? It doesn’t matter what breed you may want somebody has a rescue shelter somewhere that can help you be matched up with your companion. Please consider donating to your local rescue society, giving of your time or adopting responsibly.