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Adopting a Pet (Part 1)

Why saving a life though adoption is a great idea!
South Africa is overflowing with unwanted dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, even rabbits, birds and other animals. It’s sad to think that most of these animals in shelters will never experience a loving home and the security of a family they deserve. 

We have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands because people: 

  • don’t sterilise their pets 
  • actively breeds animals 
  • support breeders/pet shops/animal dealers 
  • don’t take responsibility for their pets 
  • let their animals roam the streets 

The reality is that there are just not enough homes for all the animals. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born find a forever home and millions of animals are euthanized (put to sleep) every year. More unwanted animals end up as bait dogs/cats/rabbits for dogfighting or get passed from one owner to the other until they eventually, if “lucky” end up in a shelter instead. 

We understand that it seems easier to buy a pet, but let us share with you why buying a pet is part of the problem.  The pet industry in South Africa is not regulated and pet shops do not promote responsible pet ownership (sterilizations, home checks, etc.). They make their profits by promoting IMPULSE BUYING. These animals can also come from a questionable source.

What is Adoption? 
Many animals come in as strays found and other animals are dumped, abandoned or surrendered by their owners. If these animals are not claimed by their owners within the pound period, the shelter has two options namely, euthanize or adoption. Adoption is when you give an animal from a registered rescue organisation/shelter a second chance, as part of your family. You will pay an adoption fee and go through a process of responsible homing.

It is never just about a good home, but rather good placement for that animal! 
There are many BENEFITS to adopting. You not only save a life but will also make resources and space available for the next one to be rescued. If you can do the math, you know you will save money by adopting! Pets are good for our physical and emotional health and adopted ones for the most part are already “trained”. You also help to lighten the load of a shelter that rescues animals and make the rescuers go on for just one more day. 

Image: Rustplaas Dog Shelter

Things to consider before adopting:

  • Are you ready for a pet? 
  • Can you afford pet care in the long term? 
  • Have you researched their specific needs and can you meet these needs? 
  • Does the animal fit your family’s lifestyle?
  • If you live in a townhouse complex, written approval from the body corporate, that pets are allowed, must be obtained.   
  • Municipal By-laws must be adhered to with regards to allowed number of pets.  
  • You may never know their breed, medical history or behavioural history. 
  • You will have to pet-proof your home beforehand. 
  • Get the necessary items for your car and for travel. 
  • You will still need to buy beds, blankets, toys, leashes, deworm every 3 months, vaccinate every year, buy good food every month, this does not even include saving for an emergency!  
  • They need to be spayed/neutered and a form of identification added. 
  • Social animals should not be the only animals in the house.   
  • They might need some training and patients to build trust, more time to adjust and might not get along with all people or animals. 
  • If you think adoption fees are too expensive, then we will advise that you rather not get a pet.  If you do the math a responsible pet owner would do, then you will know that the adoption fee which includes sterilisation and more, is at least half the price you would normally pay for everything which is included and that is excluding the animal itself.  

Image by Best Behaviour now operating as Beyond Behaviour

Rescue is the best breed! We always advise you to go and meet the animals available at your local shelter.  Shelter pets are not broken, they were only failed by humans. Adopting an adult pet can even be better than a puppy. You might just fall in love with one that you never thought of. Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle is however especially important. NEVER MAKE A DECISION based only on a dog’s LOOK or SIZE or BREED etc. The energy level of that animal should fit with that of your family.

If you like a particular breed, there are many different ones up for adoption through breed-specific rescues (e.g. google “Poodle” rescue SA).   Be careful with any organisations that do not do responsible homing which should include sterilisation and a home-check.

Changing a life through adoption is priceless! ADOPT DON’T SHOP!

Next week we will look at how the process for adoption works. 

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER! 

Source: The Bulletin
Website: www.thebulletin.co.za

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Adopting a Pet (Part 2)

What can you expect during the process of adopting a pet?
The process and policy might differ between organisations. The process usually includes an application form, meet & greet, home check, paying an adoption fee, sign an adoption contract, sterilisation and follow-up. Depending on availability for sterilisation at the Veterinarian or home check schedules, this can be completed in as little as 3 or 4 days. 

Irresponsible homing is not rescue! As there are far too many irresponsible organisations as well as scammers out there, we consider it to be a RESPONSIBLE ADOPTION only when it includes the following:

  • Organisation must be registered and have a clear adoption policy as well transparency and accountability.
  • Must have a comprehensive adoption application.
  • Must do a home check in person. 
  • Must require proof of address and copy of the adopters ID.
  • May not allow adoption for someone else as this is highly irresponsible and no reputable and responsible organisation will do this.
  • Must have an adoption contract which includes sterilisation policy and return policy.
  • Should do follow-up post adoption.
  • Meet and greet with all the family members (humans and animals) is important.
  • We believe adoption fee should include at least, the sterilisation, deworming, first vaccination , microchip and ID collar.

If it is an individual who is “re-homing” their own dogs or their friend’s, then it is not adoption and they are part of the problem by abusing the term ‘adoption’. Selling animals on Facebook goes against their community standard and should be reported to Facebook and the group admins.

Home checks:
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the credibility of responsible animal welfare organisations. As a prospective adopter, you do not have to be afraid of a home check!  You might learn some valuable information about being a pet owner or things to look for and so you can help educate others too! You can also build a relationship with a very knowledgeable person which can come in handy in the future. Most organisations will give you time to make the necessary, reasonable changes and still adopt.

Some home check considerations includes:

  • Access to basic needs like food, water and shelter.
  • Fences, swimming pools, neighbour’s animals and surrounding areas.
  • Inspection of the other animals in the home, their general condition as well as their behaviour toward their owners and other animals.
  • Children and their attitude towards the animals.

If an organisation doesn’t do home checks, they are only a pet shop and you are supporting one of the reasons we have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands.  No matter what they call it!

Organisations get blamed for being too strict when it comes to adoptions. If the process is too ‘hard’ for you, the commitment to the animal for their life will be impossible for you. You must remember that we are responsible for the life of a sentient being, not just an object you buy at the shop and can return or throw away when you are not happy. It is NOT JUST ABOUT A GOOD HOME, BUT ABOUT THE RIGHT PLACEMENT for the animal considering their needs and the availability of resources to meet those needs.

One popular critique is not allowing adoptions when all the animals in the yard are not sterilised. It is a standard practice among reputable rescues to require any existing animals to be sterilised. It is counterintuitive to our mission as rescuers to allow puppies, kittens, or bunnies to be homed where there are unsterilised animals. We would not have this massive overpopulation crisis if people sterilised their pets. It is about responsible pet owners.

Remember:

  • It may take some time to gain their trust, for them to adjust (3 months at least) and they might be scared at first or for extended periods of time.
  • Even if the bond is instant, you don’t know your pet yet, so take the necessary precautions around other people, children and pets and do not introduce them to everyone at once.
  • The breed should never be blamed for any issues, it is how you handle the situation.  Get some professional help from a trainer if the issues persist.

If you have any concerns or complaints regarding animal welfare organisations please contact THE PAW COMPANY via Facebook.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin
Website: www.thebulletin.co.za

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Adoption is the only ethical option

Adoption is the only ethical option

Image: Pixabay

What YOU should know about saving a life through ADOPTION!
South Africa is overflowing with unwanted dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens, even rabbits, birds, and other animals. It’s sad to think that most of these animals in shelters will never experience a loving home and the security of a family they deserve.  Last week we looked at why breeding animals fuels this problem, so this week we will look at how you can save a life and help decrease the burden on animal welfare organizations.

The sad reality is that although we promote adoption, we can’t adopt our way out of this crisis.  Do you know 30 homes that want to adopt?  I don’t, and that is the number of animals that easily come into one shelter per month and there are thousands of shelters. People selfishly breed and abandon animals faster than we can save them. 

We understand that it seems easier to buy a pet, but buying a pet is part of the problem. The pet industry in South Africa is not regulated and pet shops do not promote responsible pet ownership (sterilizations, home checks, etc.). They make their profits by promoting impulse buying. I am not even talking about all the “free to good home” ones on social media.

Adoption is the only ethical option

What is adoption?
Many animals come in as strays found and other animals are dumped, abandoned, or surrendered by their owners. If these animals are not claimed by their owners within the pound period, the shelter has two options namely, euthanize or adoption. Adoption is when you give an animal from a registered and responsible rescue organization/shelter a second chance, as part of your family. You will pay an adoption fee and go through a process of responsible homing.

When you adopt you change more then one life!
Here are a few of the many benefits of adopting a pet:

  • You not only save a life but will also make resources and space available for the next one to be rescued.
  • If you can do the math, you know you will save money by adopting!
  • Adopted pets for the most part are already “trained”. 
  • You also help to lighten the load of a shelter that rescues animals and make the rescuers go on for just one more day. 
  • By adopting from a reputable shelter, it also allows you to take a stand against pet stores, puppy mills, and breeders and you do your part to put a dent in the pet-for-profit trade.
  • You can also build a relationship with the shelter that can really come in handy!
  • There is no greater kindness you can offer a frightened, confused shelter pet than a place in your heart and home. Many adoptive parents can attest to the special bonds created after adoption. 

Things to consider before adopting:

  • Are you ready for a pet? 
  • Can you afford pet care in the long term? 
  • Have you researched their specific needs and can you meet these needs? 
  • Does the animal fit your family’s lifestyle? 
  • If you live in a townhouse complex, written approval from the body corporate, that pets are allowed, must be obtained.   
  • Municipal By-laws must be adhered to with regard to the allowed number of pets.  
  • You may never know their breed, medical history, or behavioural history. 
  • You will have to pet-proof your home beforehand. 
  • Get the necessary items for your car and for travel. 
  • You will still need to buy beds, blankets, toys, leashes, deworm every 3 months, vaccinate every year, and buy good food every month, this does not even include saving for an emergency!  
  • They need to be spayed/neutered and a form of identification added, which is usually included in the adoption. 
  • Social animals should not be the only animals in the house and most need to be around their own species. 
  • They might need some training and patients to build trust, more time to adjust, and might not get along with all people or animals. 
  • Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle is however especially important.
  • Never make a decision based only on a dog’s look, size, breed, etc. The energy level of that animal should fit with that of your family. 

Out-of-town adoptions:
Adopting an animal from a shelter in another town is possible. Usually, a local animal rescue or SPCA in your town will do the home check. Out-of-town adoption however will cost more, and the travel stress can be a lot for the animal. If you change your mind, you can’t expect the shelter to cover the costs. So really think this through and commit 100% before you choose this option.

What can you expect during the process of adopting a pet?
The process and policy might differ between organizations. The process usually includes an application form, meet & greet, home check, paying an adoption fee, signing an adoption contract, sterilization and follow-up. Depending on availability for sterilization at the Veterinarian or home check schedules, this can be completed in as little as 3 or 4 days. 

Irresponsible homing is not rescue! Because there are far too many irresponsible organizations (yes in our area too) as well as scammers out there, we consider it to be a responsible adoption only when it includes the following:

  • The organization must be registered and have a clear adoption policy as well as transparency and accountability.
  • Must have a comprehensive adoption application.
  • Must require proof of address and a copy of the adopter’s ID.
  • Must do a home check in person. 
  • They must not breed or support breeding in any form. These are the biggest hypocrites “in” animal welfare.
  • May not allow adoption for someone else as this is highly irresponsible and no reputable and responsible organization will do this.
  • Must have an adoption contract that includes a sterilization policy and return policy.
  • Should do follow-up post-adoption.
  • Meet and greet with all the family members (humans and animals) is important.
  • We believe the adoption fee should at least include, sterilization, deworming, treatment for ticks and fleas, first vaccination, microchip, and ID collar.

Please note – If it is an individual who is “re-homing” their dogs or their friends’, or giving animals away for free, or selling them, then it is not an adoption and they are part of the problem by abusing the term ‘adoption’ and fueling this massive overpopulation crisis. Selling animals on Facebook goes against their community standard and should be reported to Facebook and the group admins.

About adoption fees:
If you think adoption fees are too expensive, then we will advise that you rather not get a pet.  If you do the math a responsible pet owner would do, then you will know that the adoption fee which includes sterilization and more, is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of purchasing a pet, or even compared to getting a pet for free, and that is excluding the animal itself. 

EXAMPLE – Take a medium size female dog in Secunda and surrounding areas:

WHEN YOU BUY (Excluding cost for the animal itself.)

  • Sterilization easily up to R1500
  • Microchipping R375
  • Deworming R60
  • Vaccinations R400

TOTAL: R2335

When you adopt:
If all of the above are included in our area, it is around R1250 plus the fact that you saved a life…………which is priceless! That is a R1085 difference plus you just pick up the animal with all of it done already so saving on time and petrol.

Responsible pet owners will do all of the above for their animals and more. So, when you say adoption fees are too much, I would seriously question your math skills and sense of responsibility. If you can’t afford adoption fees, then I doubt you will be able to properly care for that animal, even if your heart is in the right place!

Adoption is the only ethical option

Home checks:
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the credibility of responsible animal welfare organizations. As a prospective adopter, you do not have to be afraid of a home check!  You might learn some valuable information about being a pet owner or things to look for and so, you can help educate others to imrove the lives of animals! You can also build a relationship with a very knowledgeable person which can come in handy in the future. Most organizations will give you time to make the necessary, reasonable changes and still adopt.

Some home check considerations included:

  • Access to basic needs like food, water, and shelter.
  • Fences, swimming pools, neighbour’s animals, and surrounding areas.
  • Inspection of the other animals in the home, their general condition as well as their behaviour toward their owners and other animals.
  • Children and their attitude towards the animals.

If the organization doesn’t include both a home check and sterilization then they are NOT A RESPONSIBLE ORGANIZATION and we consider them to be a pet shop. By supporting them you help fuel this massive overpopulation crisis.  No matter what they call it and even if they are registered!

Organizations get blamed for being too strict when it comes to adoptions.  If the process is too ‘hard’ for you, the commitment to the animal for their life will be impossible for you.  You must remember that we are responsible for the life of a sentient being, not just an object you buy at the shop and can return or throw away when you are not happy. It is not just about a good home, but about the right placement for the animal, considering their needs and the availability of resources to meet those needs. 

One popular critique is not allowing adoptions when all the animals in the yard are not sterilized.  It is a standard practice among reputable rescues to require any existing animals to be sterilized, even if you adopt a dog and have a cat. It is counterintuitive to our mission as rescuers to allow puppies, kittens, or bunnies to be homed where there are unsterilized animals. We would not have this massive overpopulation crisis if people sterilized their pets. It is about responsible pet owners.

Remember:

  • It may take some time to gain the adopted pet’s trust.
  • After adoption they need time to adjust (3 months at least) and they might be scared at first or for extended periods.
  • The stress and diet change (which should be done correctly and be species-appropriate) can likely cause diarrhea, or maybe constipation.
  • Even if the bond is instant, you don’t know your pet yet, so take the necessary precautions around other people, children, and pets, and do not introduce them to everyone at once. You are their advocate.
  • Get some professional help from a qualified behaviourist (there is a difference between a trainer and behaviourist) if their are any behaviour concerns.
  • Shelters will not knowingly give you a sick animal, but also contact them when in doubt.
  • Not being “purebred” can actually be beneficial.
  • It is crucial to set the “house rules” and the whole family needs to stick to them and be consistent, so not to confuse the animals.

Rescue is the best breed! We always advise you to go and meet the animals available at your local shelter.  Shelter pets are not broken, they were only failed by humans, but most people only realize this after they have volunteered at the shelters.  Adopting an adult pet can even be better than a puppy and you might just fall in love with one that you never thought of.

There are breed-specific shelters and shelters for birds, rats, bunnies, and other critters.  If you like a particular breed, there are many different ones up for adoption through breed-specific rescues (e.g., google “Poodle” rescue SA).   If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for locally, consider widening your search but keep in mind the stress for the animal if you adopt from out-of-town.

In a world where thousands of animals (about 2800 in SA alone) are humanely killed (PTS/Euthanized) EVERY DAY…… adoption is the only ethical option! Visit your nearest reputable shelter and make a difference today!  ADOPT DON’T SHOP!   

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin

Looking to adopt?
Search our Animal Welfare directory!

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Pet

Image: Pixabay

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Your pets can be healthier and happier in 2024 with some or all of these pawsome pet new year’s resolutions!

A new year brings new goals and more than 300 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help. An important first step is to avoid becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to make big changes overnight. Baby steps in the right direction are the way to go. The important thing is to make a plan and move steadily forward.

Re-publication: Originally published 18 January 2023

CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT & A SPACE THAT IS ONLY THEIRS

  • Keep toxic substances like medications, cleaning or gardening products, alcohol and toxic plants out of reach.
  • Just because a pet shop or vet sells something, doesn’t make it safe. Buy safe bedding and toys made of natural material without strong smells.
  • Clean their food and water bowls daily. We prefer stainless steel bowls to plastic.
  • Be careful about cleaning products, non-stick pans, air fresheners, or perfumes and candles you use that can affect your pets.
  • Resolve to take the time to safely secure your dog in the car on all car trips, regardless of the length of the journey. Never leave them alone in a car!
  • Start firework preparation before the festivities catch you unprepared.
  • Secure your yard so it is safe and so that pets can’t escape or get poisoned from the street.
  • Keep your cats safe in your yard.
  • Make sure there is proper shelter from all the elements.
  • Have a safe space in your home that belongs to them.

CREATE A PET-FRIENDLY GARDEN

Since our pets spend the most time at home or in the garden, we should do our best to build them safe, entertaining places to rest and play. Make sure all potentially harmful plants or substances are out of reach. Create some nice hiding places and vertical territory for your pets to enjoy and explore. Learn more about zoopharmacognosy, which allows your pet to self-select remedies that best soothe them, especially during periods of anxiety.

OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT FOR PET EMERGENCIES OR GET PET INSURANCE

Be better prepared for the unexpected. This is a healthy habit and can save you a lot of worries later. Pet owners can now choose from a variety of pet insurance plans that meet their needs and fit every budget.

WRITE A BUCKET LIST FOR SENIOR PETS

What do you think your senior pet wants to do before crossing the Rainbow Bridge? You can make the last phase of your pet’s life memorable by compiling and completing a list of activities that will have their tail wagging and your heart soaring. Prepare in advance to navigate the Rainbow Bridge journey and making the tough but kind decision to euthanize your pet.

Pet

Image by The Paw Company

DO SOME COMMUNITY/PHILANTHROPY WORK FOR ANIMALS IN NEED

  • adopt or foster a pet
  • donate to a rescue or shelter
  • donate pet products like beds, towels, bowls, leashes, collars or food
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • say thank you to rescuers (and a vet)
  • take a shelter dog for a walk
  • sign a few petitions to help us save more animals
  • share lost and found animal posts to improve their chances of being reunited with their owners
  • join a specific cause like “stop fireworks”, “say no to the circus” or sterilizations campaigns

BALANCE YOUR MOOD (ENERGY)

Animals can pick up on our energies. We see how sensitive animals are to our emotional state. They get excited when we are or try to comfort you if you are down by climbing on your lap. If you’re continuously agitated or angry when you come home, this could negatively affect your pet’s emotional state. Maybe a good New Year’s resolution idea this year is to learn how to have balanced energy before coming home to see your furry family. Even though a walk might do you good, maybe not attempt it on a day that you are angry or frustrated or not in the mood because you might ruin the experience for your pet.

Keep in mind that barking, humping and digging for example are natural behaviours, but don’t allow your pet to do things if it frustrates you as this will not be good for either of you. There are alternative and healthy ways to deal with such natural behaviours.

FIND A GOOD PET SITTER

Identify what type of pet sitter service you need. Start your search as soon as possible, ask for referrals and interview potential sitters. For us, a big factor (apart from being trustworthy) is someone who has training in pet first aid (behaviour and grooming are a bonus) and who has professional documentation (forms and terms & conditions). List your pet sitter at your vet.

ADOPT DON’T SHOP

If you are planning to get a new pet, please do your homework in advance about the specie and their needs. It is important that the animal and breed you choose fit with your family’s energy levels and lifestyle. Please do not support breeders who fuel this massive overpopulation crisis, so opt to adopt from reputable organizations that include home checks, a contract and sterilization.

Pet

Image by The Paw Company

LIVE KINDER

Only visit True Sanctuaries and say no to those that offer animal rides, interaction, walk with, pet, or taking of photos with the animals.

  • Use your birthday to raise donations for a reputable animal shelter by asking friends and families to donate or let your wedding registry be donations to an animal shelter.
  • Organize a community clean-up because plastic and other trash are harmful to the environment and animals.
  • Support the life in your backyard like the small ecosystems, and animals and insects that live around your home.
  • Say no to pesticides and poisons because poisoning rats and other animals influences the natural food chain.

Choose to wear it kind by buying and wearing clothing ethically. Avoid leather, fur and wool and try sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives because their lives matter! Don’t buy products that are tested on animals. You can find the approved beauty brands on the Humane Guide.

EDUCATE & ADVOCATE

This is one we really want you to help us with! Try and share an educational post about animals regularly to help others learn more about animal care and welfare. Advocate for the voiceless and the unheard, especially about topics like breeding, selling, petting farms, the circus and fireworks.

FINALLY, CREATE A PLAN

Almost done. You have your pet and you have decided to make some pet-positive changes in the new year. You even have some great ideas now for pawsome resolutions. To execute these resolutions though, there needs to be detailed goals and an easy plan to follow every day. It is important to create a plan that you can stick to. Consider asking a friend to check in with and make sure you are keeping to those resolutions. Maybe start a calendar and write down the days and the goals. The most important part…..get excited!

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for your pet? Are you sticking to them?

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin