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Training is part of adopting a pet

October 9, 2018

By Jenny Anderson

Special to Today’s News-Herald

When adopting a dog from the Western Arizona Humane Society, there will be some unknowns.

The staff will attempt to get as much information as possible from previous owners. That, plus their own experience with the animal helps them make judgments. However, the staff obviously cannot (and should not) make any guarantees. We don’t know how previous experiences may have colored the pets that come to live at the animal shelter.

More than once I have heard someone suggest that a WAHS staff member or volunteer lied to them. This is unfortunate. Here’s an example. The staff person may indicate the dog is potty-trained. Yet when the dog or cat gets home, it urinates in inappropriate places. There are reasons this may happen. Dogs are confined to an indoor-outdoor kennel for most of the 24-hour day. The only time they have a chance to relieve themselves outside is when volunteers or staff take them out.

A housetrained animal may have some relapses after kennel confinement. Accidents can also be either a nervous reaction or an animal’s instinct to mark its new territory. If other animals are around, it will exacerbate the situation. For that reason, frequently take the animal outside (or to its litter box). Using a reward will encourage elimination in the right place.

It cannot be emphasized enough that any new animal companion needs close supervision and possible re-training until it has adjusted to its new home. We have always allowed extra time with the new pet and try to do as much as possible to help it adjust. I feel badly when a dog is immediately thrust outside to function on its own. Many barking complaints could be avoided if the dogs are allowed indoors more to be with their “pack.” Diligence is also recommended when animals interact with one another. Differences in size, age and play styles can spell big trouble.

PetSmart Charities has always had a cooperative relationship with animal shelters and rescues in each of the 1,600 communities it serves. The last National Pet Adoption Weekend helped 19 WAHS animals find new homes. Nationwide, PetSmart reports helping 32,000 pets find their forever homes, making it their most successful adoption weekend ever. When people participate in adopting, they can be assured their pet isn’t from a puppy mill.

Sometimes people overlook older animals in their search for a good match, but adult pets are often the best match for older folks. One older dog, Hauss, was a stray that had tags, however no one ever returned the calls made to the number on his tags. He is a 12-year-old stray lab mix that was recently chosen by an elderly person. The match seemed to be perfect. Soon however, this elderly person ended up with a serious health decline and could no longer keep Hauss. This older boy is now back in WAHS’ care and truly deserves a good home. He has been with WAHS (on and off) since last spring. His adoption is sponsored, so please come check him out.

October is dedicated to Shelter Dog Adoptions. Let’s help clear the kennels. Don’t forget this coming Saturday is Duck Derby, one of WAHS’ major events. Please participate in this fun and worthwhile day.

The Western Arizona Humane Society, 1100 Empire Dr., is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details.

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