Hello, my favorite dog people! We hope you had a very happy Valentine’s Day with your family and your best friend who has four paws. I would like to touch on a subject this month which, for some, may be a little uncomfortable to talk about, but I feel very strongly about it and would like to share this information with you. It is a topic that we at Bow Wow are faced with on a daily basis as I am personally connected with many rescue groups. It is the topic of re-homing your family pet.
Everyone understands that there are many cirumstances that are beyond our control sometimes. And often times a situation may involve the re-homing of your pet. Now, when we talk about re-homing it’s not the same thing as “getting rid of your pet,” a comment that I just don’t like. “Re-homing” means that you spend time picking a family, or promoting your pet to possible new owners who would be responsible for your friend. But more times than not, families will wait until the very last minute to even pursue a possible new owner, and thus the dear family friend will end up in the shelter. This is not a happy place for any family pet to be! Let’s try to imagine what it is like for a loving pet to suddenly lose their family. They go for a ride in the car, which for many pets is a happy time, for others it’s a frightening one. Either way, they are happy or scared and suddenly they arrive at a place never seen before. It’s cold, it’s fenced, and it’s full of barking, scared other pets that have also been left there.
Although you might still be standing there, your dog starts to feel, by instinct, that something unpleasant is about to happen. But because he can’t think just like you and I, he can only feel the unpleasantness of what’s about to happen. A person comes, you sign papers and surrender your pet to the shelter. Doors close behind you, and from that point on, your pet becomes sad, terrified, and lonely. And they enter into a small fenced in kennel, where he/she sits waiting, expecting you to eventually come back. As time passes and they see only people they have not known before this, depression sets in. Depending on how long of a stay they have waiting to be adopted, other behavior disorders can start to become visible. Many dogs who enter and remain for long periods of time are deemed unadoptable, even though they may have never displayed negative personality traits, they start to. Dogs that may have never bitten other dogs who at one time were very social and friendly, become shy, unsocial, and unaproachable, which then makes then un-adoptable. Their end result is, many times, not a good one.
It is a fact that when pets see their owners, a chemical is released in their brains, just like a human when they are in love. In stating this I ask, if you have a pet that must be re-homed, please take the time to advertise long before you are in need of placing them. If you find a good, loving family, bring your friend there many times before the final trip takes place. This way, your friend has become aquainted and familiar with their new owners, and it will be a happy place and a comfortable one for them. Although, even when you leave for good, they will still look for you somewhat, it will not be the same as being left with no one they know, no familiar surroundings, and a feeling of abandonment.
Today, we are surrounded with tons of internet information which can direct you to many rescue groups that would be happy to help you in placing your friend. But you can’t do this if you’re moving out of your house on Sunday, and it’s Friday, and you still haven’t looked into a possible home or rescue for your friend. Be a responsible owner, you made a commitment when you took that puppy or kitten home, that you’d take care of them for the rest of their lives, and if circumstances make that impossible for you to carry out, then do the right thing and find your friend a good loving situation.
Like us, our pets feel pain, they feel love, they have emotions, and love us unconditionally. We owe it to them as good human beings to do the right thing for them. They are not “just a dog” or “just a cat,” they are our loving companions. Treat them as such. None of what is taking place is, in anyway, their fault. Next month we will discuss training, one of my favorite topics!
So until next time, hug your best friends — the one with the 4 paws!
Be well and be safe,
Your friend, Terry
Bow Wow Blvd., 403 Neighborhood Rd., Mastic Beach, NY 11951 (631) 399-8035