Why Animals Are Abandoned
Throughout the world, animal shelters are overflowing with dogs and cats that are in need of good homes. But how did so many get there? It can be hard for dedicated pet lovers to understand how someone could just surrender his or her companion. When a dog/cat ends up in a shelter, it is not their fault. Most behavioral issues, for instance, can typically be traced back to the way in which their former caretakers handled them. 10 reasons Here are the top 10 most common reasons dogs and cats end up in shelters: 1. Lack of training: Many people get a dog without realizing how much training is involved. Dogs do not come trained. They need diligent leaders who are willing to put in the hours setting rules, boundaries, and limitations, and spending time teaching them commands. Puppies do not come housebroken and must be taught to go to the bathroom outside. People fail to take this into account when bringing home a dog and ignore problems, which often lead to behavioral issues. Shelters are filled with dogs that have potty training, socialization, and obedience issues, all of which could have been prevented through proper training and socialization. 2. Lifestyle changes: People losing their job, getting a divorce, having a new baby, or encountering difficulties with their health are also common reasons that dogs and cats end up in shelters. A person may become overwhelmed by a dog or cat when they have a new baby, or may be unable to attend to them if they are unhealthy themselves. It is extremely devastating when a pet parent passes away and their beloved friend and companion suddenly finds themselves losing their happy and safe home, surrendered to a shelter. 3. Moving: Sometimes, people move and cannot take their dog or cat with them. The home that they relocate to might not allow pets. My own personal case was extreme. The mobile home park was sold to an organization that ordered there was to be one dog per household. I had three. In a state of panic, I had to quickly decide how to handle this unexpected and horrible predicament. I decided to haul my mobile home to another park where my three certified therapy dogs were immediately accepted. It was a decision I certainly never regretted, even though this was a huge undertaking. I would not have had it any other way. 4. Not enough time for a pet: Our lives are busy, and having a dog or cat requires making time to properly care for it. One of the main reasons that pets end up in shelters is that their people get busy and start to prioritize other things above their pet, thus neglecting its needs. Oftentimes, children who pushed their parents to get them a pet by promising to take care of it become interested in other things, thus leaving the responsibility of the pet to their overwhelmed parents. Such was the case with me as a child. More about that in a soon-to-come column. 5. Cost of pet ownership: Between vet bills, boarding, buying food, toys, and grooming, pets can be expensive. Many people underestimate the amount of money that owning a pet will involve, especially if there are special needs or health issues involved. And some will change their priorities and opt to spend their money elsewhere, choosing to relinquish their pet. Personally, my pets are my priority. Always were and always will be. I only recently invested in a cell phone and still own a 24” TV and am fine with that as long as I have a warm dog or cat in my lap! 6. Health issues: Old dogs/cats and pets with injuries and other health-related issues require more money, time, patience, and attention than healthy young pets. Some people make the decision to get rid of the pet versus continue to care for them once an illness or ailment arises. Hoping my future caretaker does not feel the same about me. 7. Biting: Dogs are often hauled off to shelters because they have bitten a member of the family. If a dog exhibits aggressive behavior, it must be dealt with immediately. Biting can be avoided if a dog is properly trained and socialized, and if behavioral issues are addressed before they worsen. Often, young children are not supervised or taught how to properly interact with their pet. When the pet reacts defensively, it may likely result in being surrendered to a shelter. 8. Too many animals in the home: Pets are cute and can be adopted impulsively. However, when there are too many animals in the home, it can become a problem. People who fail to spay or neuter their pets may end up with a whole litter and find themselves with nowhere to place the puppies or kittens. A dog may be fighting with a cat in the house or may not be getting along with the other dogs in the pack, thus resulting in it being sent to a shelter. Controlling a multi-pet household can be challenging, but it is manageable with time, effort, and supervision. 9. Allergies within family household: If someone in the household develops an allergy to a pet, it may wind up in a shelter. People may have developed an allergy to the pet, might have a significant other move in who is allergic, or may have a child that is born with or develops a dog or cat allergy. 10. Strays and rescues: People who find dogs or cats on the street often take them in on a temporary basis while searching for its family. If the dog or cat’s people are not found, they are often given to a local shelter in the hopes that they will be placed in a home. Prevention Here are some ways you can prevent dogs and cats from ending up in shelters: — Think before you get a dog or cat. Potential dog or cat adopters should carefully decide as to whether or not to bring a dog or cat home. Do your research and factor in whether or not you’ll be able to meet all responsibilities of pet ownership. — Consider other alternatives to surrendering your pet to a shelter: — If you have a dog and experience a lifestyle change, try your best to work through it without leaving your dog at a shelter. If you find yourself with less time on your hands, consider putting your dog into day care or hiring a dog walker to give it some exercise and attention during the day. If you move and are unable to take the dog or cat with you or cannot afford the costs anymore, seek out responsible new caretakers for your pet. If you develop an allergy, try bathing the dog in hypo allergenic shampoos to alleviate your condition. If you find a stray dog or cat on the street, foster it until you are able to secure a reliable home through friends or rescue. Pet expo One week until the SPCA pet expo! My boys and I are very excited about this event, and I will write all about the weekend in my column the following week. Come say hello to Smudge, Swayze, and maybe Rue! Who is Rue?? Better come to the expo to find out!! We will be at The Citizens’ Voice booth. Dog bless. Resource: Nicole Pajer/Cesar’s Way Judy Endo writes about pets. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.