AC Pup: There are things to consider before getting a pet

August 23, 2013 

There are so many great dogs and cats waiting for loving families to adopt them. Wonderful pets that could be loyal lifelong companions are at local rescue groups and pounds, and they’re eager to see potential adopters.

In the Southeast there are so many more homeless animals than families willing to adopt them. That’s why so many are transported from Georgia to Maine, New York and Connecticut.

Because folks in the Northeast are really conscientious about spaying and neutering animals, they don’t have a surplus of available pets. So their demand for healthy adoptable pets is significant. And because we have an overpopulation issue in the Southeast, we have an abundant supply to offer.

We work really hard to promote homeless animals both locally and nationally in hopes of maximizing their exposure. The more we promote them, the greater the chance an interested family will see them.

Naturally we are thrilled whenever an adoption takes place whether it takes place in Maine or Macon. We celebrate whenever a pet has been saved.

But sometimes, for whatever reason, the adoption doesn’t work out, and the pet is returned to the rescue group. Personally, I can’t think of anything more heartbreaking to the pet than being adopted, believing he’s found a forever family and someone to love only to be returned to a kennel and becoming homeless again.

So why would someone adopt a pet and then decide it’s not going to work out? Well, there could be several reasons, many of which could be prevented if potential adopters simply manage their expectations.

First, before a potential adopter ever looks at a pet, he should analyze his own situation. He should assess the time he has to spend with a new pet and how much space he has. Pets require daily attention, exercise and love.

Then he should determine the type of pet his lifestyle will support. Should he choose a dog or cat or a puppy or kitten? The type and age of a pet makes a huge difference.

The age of the adopter factors into this decision too, since the adopter should have plenty of energy, fabulous health and a long life ahead of him should he choose a puppy or kitten rather than an older dog or cat. But there are plenty of senior pets available as well for older adopters.

Next he should consider his budget. Pets are like children. They require excellent nutrition, regular medical care and preventive medicine. This is expensive.

Finally, the biggest reason for returning a pet is for behavior. Pets should be trained and given time to adjust to their new surroundings. Remember, they are trainable. They shouldn’t be returned because they misbehaved.

Once trained and given a chance, they might just become your most favorite relative in your family.

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