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Pets have feelings too

Written by Dorothy Ripperdan. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on February 28, 2012 with No Comments

You have decided that you want or have to give up your pet. This is not always an easy decision.  But have you given any thought as to what your pet goes through when the family it has known to be theirs suddenly up and leaves them at a shelter or rescue?

Most people do not realize what kind of emotional and physical trauma their pet goes through when they give it up. The pet often wonders what it did wrong that caused its family to walk away from it. Before you make the decision to remove your pet from its home, consider all of your options.  There is a solution to almost every problem.

Some of these pets cannot handle going from a safe home environment to a shelter environment with all the other animals there. They might stop eating and drinking because they are scared and do not know why they are there. They may become ill, or they might get depressed and hide.  Some may even just give up and die.

Sometimes, there are behavioral issues that are the reasons a pet owner wants to give up their pet. All too often the the owner does not know how, or take the time, to try to find out why their pet of many years has started this bad behavior. They simply decide that the pet has to go. This behavior may be attributed to something as simple as a change in the home– maybe a new baby or another new pet or even a new house. Sometimes, it is a physical problem that can be cleared up by a simple visit to the veterinarian.

Too often people think that pets are just animals and have no feelings, but they are so very wrong. Many pets end up heartbroken after being left at a shelter or rescue. Some of these pets have been in families for many years and then circumstances change. The pet feels alone and afraid.  Sometimes a family feels it can no longer afford its pet.  Maybe a divorce or the death of the caretaker has happened.  All too often, these poor older pets may never have the good fortune of finding another loving home and may end up living out the rest of their lives in the shelter or rescue.  It is sad for all involved, when a family feels they cannot keep their pet any longer.

Before you relinquish your pet to a shelter, check out some alternatives. If you cannot afford your pet’s food there are now food pantries for pets. In Porter County, there is the Porter County Pet Project and Kibble Kitchen, which provide food and litter for families in need. You can also find information about food pantries from your county government or often your church. The Humane Society of the United States also has a comprehensive list of organizations that offer financial aid to people with pets. This list includes pet food banks and other organizations offering discounted veterinary services, temporary foster care and other resources.

If you are moving and cannot take your pet, or if there is a family medical situation or death of a pet owner that requires you to remove your pet from its home, please check out other alternatives before relinquishing that pet to a shelter.

Talk to other family members, neighbors or friends to see if they could take the pet or know someone that could. Advertise for a good home for the pet.  Put out flyers.  If you have access to the Internet, put an ad on Facebook, Craig’s List or one of the many other sites available for getting the word out. It may be hard for the pet to adjust to a new home, but they would adjust to that much easier.

Please do not drop your pet off in the woods or countryside and assume that it can take care of itself. Pets lack the skills to survive on their own and may die of starvation or injury. Also, please do not abandon your pet in the house or apartment you are moving out of and think that someone will eventually find it. This doesn’t always happen.  Please do not do this to your loyal friend.  

If you must give your family pet up, just remember that it is rough on them. These are loyal, loving family members. Don’t leave them in the cold and dark, alone and hungry. Try to find a way to keep your pet or find it another loving home.  If you can’t find it a home, please make the extra effort to find a good no-kill shelter to take the pet. One that will do the best it can to try and find your pet a good loving home.

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About Dorothy Ripperdan

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Dorothy Ripperdan is the publicity coordinator as well as a volunteer at the Independent Cat Society Inc., located on Route 6 at the Porter/LaPorte County Line Road in Westville. For more information about any of the cats featured in her stories, call the shelter at 219-785-4936.

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