Give a Pet a Home – Adopting a Rescued Animal
If you are thinking of extending your family with the addition of a rescued pet in need of a loving home, then read on for some helpful tips for choosing the one for you. We have enlisted the help of Ruth from the RSPCA, the UK’s leading animal welfare charity, to help guide us through.
WHY CHOOSE A RESCUED PET?
Animals find themselves in rescue centres through no fault of their own. It may be that:
- Their owner has passed away.
- Their previous family has broken up.
- Their owner has become unemployed and cannot afford to keep them.
- Their previous family has found themselves homeless/evicted.
- Their owner has had a change in lifestyle – for example, working long hours.
- They have been removed from their previous home for their own good, because of neglect or cruelty.
There are many places to buy a pet, but there are many reasons to proceed with caution. Buying from an unrecognized breeder will only encourage the puppy trade and could mean more animals requiring help. You could be putting your money into the hands of people who are only breeding animals to make money and who do not have their best interests at heart.
Buying from a pet shop does fuel the trade in animals. Many of the animals for sale come from puppy farms where conditions are often bad and where adult dogs are used as breeding machines. All too often the animals do not get to live a normal life and their basic needs are not met.
Adopting a rescue animal will not only give that animal its forever home with you, but it will also make some space in the rescue centre, allowing it to accept another animal in need of help. Please do not be tempted to take an animal that is advertised as ‘free’. There is normally more than one reason behind the rehoming of these animals, and you may not get the truth until it is too late and it has cost you a lot of money – you might end up buying an animal in ill health, and then need to pay huge vet bills.
Are you ready to adopt an animal?
Here are some things to consider before starting your search:
Do you have the time that is needed to do the following:
- Settle in your new companion?
- Give it the exercise it needs?
- Attend training classes?
Do you have the financial security your pet needs for:
- Initial outlay – equipment, cost of buying the animal?
- Vet bills – pet insurance does not cover all bills?
- Insurance – cover for ill health and third-party liability?
- Food – this cost varies a great deal depending on the individual animal?
- Holiday boarding?
- Grooming – for some breeds, this is required on a regular basis?
Your energy levels must match those of your pet. Do you like to run? How energetic is the pet and could he or she keep up with you? What type or breed are you adopting and how much exercise do they need? For example, larger dogs need less exercise than smaller terrier types. Try thinking about what job the breed used to do, as that might help you understand their needs.
Also, if you are thinking about taking on a puppy, remember that it is like having a new baby in your home. They need feeding every few hours, house-training and attention by the bucketload.
Is your home suitable for a new pet? What about the other animals in your home? Will they accept a new companion? Do you have children and is the animal compatible with children their age?
Needs of the animal
Your pet may also need:
- A safe environment away from busy roads.
- Access to a cat flap.
- A suitable diet – this should include fresh food if at all possible – as we learned earlier in the book, processed food is as bad for our pets as it is for us.
- Understanding of their personality – we all have a past.
- Compatibility with the other animals and humans in the home.
- A quiet area where they can rest, away from the hustle and bustle of the household.
- Stimulation with toys, exercise and training.
- Daily grooming with the correct equipment – to include claws, teeth and coat.
- Socializing with other animals and people.
- Your time for companionship.
- Boundaries – your new pet needs to know the rules of their new home. And all the occupants need to be using the same rules – so as not to confuse the animal.
WHERE TO FIND THE RESCUE PET THAT NEEDS YOU
If you have visited an animal rescue centre and feel sorry for the animals staying there, STOP and think carefully before going ahead with an adoption. Sympathy does not help these loving creatures. We all understand empathy but if you have visited an established and well-known rescue society, the animals in their care are the lucky ones: these are the animals that will get loving, caring forever homes – eventually.
A word of warning – not every rescue centre is a charity! Anyone can set up an animal rescue centre and run it as a business. Many of these places are not run for the wellbeing of animals, but as a money-making setup for the owners. An animal may not have had a full health check or an assessment to see if it is suitable for your home. If you are not sure whether a rescue centre is a charity or not, you can check it out on the UK’s Charity Commission website.
There are many wonderful rescue centres to choose from. Do choose wisely, though, as you do not want your donation to go into the pocket of someone who uses animals for money. If you do visit a place where you see an animal being cruelly treated or in distress, do not remove the animal, but report the centre to the RSPCA or a similar organization, who will investigate it. If you remove the animal, evidence that is essential to ensure a prosecution might be compromised.
Visiting a reputable rescue centre
Once you have chosen the place then visit and ask about their homing procedure, which can vary. Your new companion should have been:
- Neutered if old enough – or you should be given a voucher for when it is old enough.
- Micro-chipped – and registered to you.
- Wormed with a product from the vet.
- Given a flea treatment with a product from the vet.
- Given a full health check by a qualified vet.
- Had its personality and suitability for rehoming assessed.
The staff will be able to assist you in choosing the right rescue animal for your family and lifestyle. Make sure that all family members meet a potential companion before you take it home – remember to choose your pet for its personality, not its looks.
Taking your new companion home
This is where your aura and state of mind will help: all animals pick up on whatever energy is around them. Keeping your energy calm and relaxed will help your new friend during this very scary time of going to new places with new people. This is very difficult when you and your family are all so excited, so try practising beforehand. Mindful meditation and deep breathing can help.
Remember: your new companion has a past and a memory – so be aware of their behaviour in different situations. Hands-on healing sessions will help you and him or her greatly, by creating a calm, relaxing environment and developing a closer relationship built on trust and love. Enlist the help of a registered animal healer at www.healinganimals.org.
Please enjoy your new friend and remember to recommend to others that rescue animals make a great addition to any family.