Now I know your intentions are wonderful and that you can not wait to see the receivers face. It is such a beautiful thing for them both. But please be aware of everything that comes with owning a new pet before you wrap the pretty bow round their neck.
Statistics show that around half the cats and dogs bought for Christmas are returned!!!!
January and February are the busiest times of year for the animal shelters. How upsetting is that?
Certain factors were clearly not thought out before this poor little creature was cuddled, fussed over, thought it was finding its forever, loving home then given back when the going gets tough!
I'm aware it's a difficult decision for most. I know that it's breaks a lot of hearts. So I thought I'd come up with and reinstate some 'food for thought' and ideas that may help.
BEFORE YOU BUY.
Think about it, put it off, think about it again, put it off some more. Then if you still feel the need. Do your research!!
There are so many sites now and groups in your locally area where you can practise living and sharing your life with a animal before you commit to one of your own. Try www.borrowmydoggy.com a free site which I actually joined and adored a king Charles Cavalier. Ask a neighbour or a friend for a doggie sleep over or pet sit while they are away. Visit your local 'Dogs Trust', 'Cats Protection' or animal shelter and bombard them with your own questions. Walk around your nearest park and spend an hour meeting your community and throwing the ball for their pooches. Visit a petting zoo often or farm. I always take my nieces and nephews to one or even 'Pets at home' to play or watch the bunnies for 30 mins. You could even foster pets now. Guide dogs in training are amazing and always need a comfortable home to nurture them to their full giving potential before they meet their companion. Or even older guide dogs who are deserving of retirement need a good home too. Ask at your local shelter or internet sites for your options here.
With all of these suggestions exhausted your urge to snuggle your own fury friend may be satisfied 😊
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME?
What kind of commitments do you already have?
Can you be there for the pet when they need you? Dogs should not be left alone for longer than 4 hours at adulthood or for over an hour as a pup. Can you commit to this? Cats are indeed more independent when fully grown but do they have access to the home and garden when you are out?
Will work 'work' around your new addition? Or is it unpredictable???? Will you need help from friends and family members? Are they as enthusiastic?
Do you like short breaks or holidays often out of the country? Are you prepared to leave them in kennels/catteries (do you know a GOOD one) if there's no one to help?
Have you got the time and enthusiasm to train your pet properly so that it effects your life in a positive way rather than the nuisance you shut behind the kitchen door? Will their mistakes make you angry or do you have the patience to deal with their learning and growing much like a child? Also make sure your aware of the little jobs that can take up time every now and then. Grooming and cleaning eyes and ears are not a job loved by most. But gotta be done.
IS YOUR HOME PET FRIENDLY?
Do you share with animal lovers? Is the garden secure for them to roam without hurting themselves or escaping? Does your front door open straight onto the mainstreet? Or can cats run around freely without meeting one? Are your neighbours the kind who love complete silence 😉 or a fluffy visitor? Are you too house proud? Remember things get accidentally damaged or chewed and clawed. There may be a faint smell you just can't quite get rid of. Haha! Will this be bearable for you? We love getting all wrapped up and in our wellies to get just as dirty as the dogs. But we are prepared to bath them before we shower when we get home. Are you ?
Ok next bombard of cray cray q's!! SORRY
WHAT BREED IS RIGHT FOR YOU?? Are you hypoallergenic? Are your house mates or immediate sitters?
Do you fancy long energetic walks or haven't you got the time? Will you want to play play play or would you want a lazy cat that just wants a cuddle? Are you a people person? Is your future pet? Make sure your buddy has a similar energy level to you. Do you like early morning licks on the face so they can go out or eat their grub? (We're lucky because our boys are just as lazy as us in the morning but love a long walk like we do)
DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER PET?
Will they get on? Do they have enough room for their own space when they want a time out? I mean cos come on we all do from time to time. Does your older pet want a friend?
Where will you get it from? Are they responsibly breeders or does the shelter have all the info and necessary papers? Do they have a bounce back system if he or she doesn't work out for you? Or just tell you to deal with it?? Then where do you go?
Sorry this is quite personal. But never mind food, chipping, vaccinations and worming tablets, neutering (a whole other topic), leads, collars, dog chews, toys, bedding, wee pads and quite possibly the occasional dog walker or sitter and training classes. Have you got enough to insure your pets welfare? Our beautiful, and mad pup is currently still undergoing treatment for meningitis (I didn't know dogs could get that either) the last 3 months have cost us £5000 which we are lucky enough to have paid regardless but we are so grateful to our pet insurance. Hate to think of those who get a pet, love it, then have to walk away with it in pain because they can't pay to heal it.
Ok so I could go on ( I kinda have) but you decide that all the above is actually quite alright and your desire for a fury friend is still strong. Thats wonderful!
As I wrote above, it is vital (and soon a legal must) to have your pet chipped. Are you wanting to breed correctly? If not please neuter your pet to help the rescuers and shelters around you. Also it is essential to train your pet, putting in as much time and energy as you possibly can, so that you and your pet can be at your happiest together.
Think of when children come to visit or live with you.... When a fussy friend whose not quite animal friendly pops round for a glass of wine or a beer! Will they be met by a calm pet that will convince them HOW AMAZING THEY ARE! When you wanna go for a lovely long walk but don't want the fear of losing them or the arm ache from the excited puller at the end of the lead. Or when the postman leaves the gate open, will your pet be trained enough to stay? All the above can be controlled and enjoyed if you train your animal companion early and consistently through its years.
Right so you have considered all the above you have put as many hours in as possible to your new friend. It still isn't working. You have tried the training and it just isn't helping either of you. As much as I insist if you plan it right and start the behaviour classes early and consistently it 'shouldn't' be a problem. This can happen. You may feel that your life together is hurting either one of you or another family member or even your pet and it's actually beneficial to separate.
What can you do?
The cats protection
Are some of my favourite animal sanctuaries. The Dogs trust never put a healthy dog down. Be careful that some shelters will if their numbers get too high. They do try their best, but when people start with good intentions and can't commit, they sadly become over run. (Hence my passionate piece here today)
Yes people turn to websites like Gumtree but please I urge you not to. You never really know who you are selling them to. There's too many a case where a lovely woman has popped round, knowing exactly what to say just to hand the babe over to a dog fighting ring leader for bate or for battle. DO NOT BE FOOLED! Some people buy just to sell on. Thank god most don't eat them over here. Nasty, but a fair warning, you never know.
Ok so I've probably scared you half to death about buying or adopting your faithful companion. Once again I'm sorry for the excess of information asked of you. It's only because I want to try anything and everything to stop so many of these gorgeous creatures being in peril. Which I'm sure you do too, so please feel free to share my blog.
I truly believe animals give more than they receive to your life. They are therapeutic and great teachers to the young. They love you unconditionally. They show us we can love back. There is nothing an animal can't give to you. They really do benefit my life. Always have always will do. Silent best friends. Absolute joy to watch, snuggle and care for....and to be cared for.