November 19, 2008 by Maria-Elena Cloherty, DVM
Kate Woodviolet of the Los Angeles Pet Rescue Examiner’s article about an emerging fad, “The Rescue Pet” is worth reading for prospective pet owners. She writes,
You’ll find them in the homes of your friends and coworkers, who no doubt love to tell their friends, “This is Ginny…she’s a rescue dog…” then a pause, presumably for the benefit of the Nobel nominating committee.
Animals rescued from shelters are certainly a nice way to adopt a pet for the home. It usually will be more a cost-effective alternative than going to a breeder or pet store. But make sure your heart is in the right place when making this decision.
Often, but not always, it means the animal was abused. More certainly it means the dog or cat was neglected…
That means that the care and affection required for these pets may be even more difficult. There could be behavioral and psychological challenges as well.
If you or someone you know is considering adopting a pet from a pet shelter, pay attention to the following:
- Be sure to understand the temperment, space/time requirements and other needs of the specific breed or mix of breeds.
- Understand the life expectancy of the animal. As an example, there are birds that can live 60+ years.
- Research and understand the costs associated with owning the animal. There’s more to owning a pet than just food and water; consider vaccines, spay/neuter and routine checkups or even emergencies.
- Make sure to identify a local veterinarian.
It’s not that rescuing a pet from a shelter would ever be a bad thing, but just remember the responsibilities and expectations of pet ownership never change. Pets don’t think that their adopted families are just today’s hot trend.