Winter & early spring offer round after round of holidays for gifting pets. Every year shelters become overrun with those unfortunate souls who don’t ‘make the grade’ in their new homes & are abandoned or returned. Many holiday gifts of animals are deemed “too much trouble” or “not the right fit for our family.” Far too many end up on the streets or in shelters that don’t have resources to care for the influx. As another of these holidays is upon us it’s important to keep all of this in mind.
Individuals & families try to find the ‘perfect’ companions, but often don’t take enough time with the process to find the right fit. Sometimes the cost associated with caring for these pets is underestimated, as well as the time needed to train & housebreak them. Too many are returned as families realize the commitment needed is beyond their capacity to provide.
Let’s face it, not every finned, furred, or feathered friend is right for your family or situation. It’s good to recognize limitations & needs of all parties involved going into the pet adoption process. It’s okay to foster until you find the right companion, or volunteer a day or two at the shelter to get to know a few candidates better. [Also, using the term fostering with young children helps them to understand the process. Explain the need to be sure everyone (including fido) is happy & things will work out in adoption.]
Like holidays, our newest adoptee Miss Toots brings more than her share of excitement & irritation. Remember though, seemingly never-ending chores & obligations are usually tempered with generous portions of dessert (again like during the holidays with our families & friends). Toots was trouble from the start [she is a ‘bird-dog’ with a strong chase instinct] & simply “puppy full of it” because of her young age. Someone said more trouble than she was worth as both Benson & Tootsy had been adopted & later brought back to shelter where we found them. Although our chosen path with Benson consists of quite a bit of trouble (with training, certification, gearing up & traveling for visitations, etc.) we believe it is always worth the time & expense.
Since embarking on our path, our family has been through many significant changes. Despite down-time (during illness & busy holidays) Benson & I have completed about 50 training visitations in the last 6 months including (but not limited to): worship & drop-in sessions at Edgewood, Orchard Park & Pierce House assisted living & nursing centers; after-school program, worship & office hours at a local church; shopping at area stores & play-dates with friends; doctor’s visits, elevators, & snack bar at the VA & other locations. Every minute of trouble is worth it for us & those we meet.
So, this holiday help a shelter & take-on some ‘Trouble’ during these hard times. Consider providing a foster or forever-home for a lucky critter, or make a donation to a local shelter at the least. Go, take the time & find each other!