Make it Furever
My name is Bo and I am a homeless cat here at Second Chance waiting to be adopted. Animal welfare folks like to refer to adoptive homes as forever homes, but I for one know there certainly is no guarantee of that, having come from a home I thought would be forever. So I have a few things to say on all this so listen up.
The Second Chance staff do a fabulous job during the “adoption interview” in an attempt to properly match us to the right family. For instance, they educate adopters that if they are gone from home for long stretches of time and like to come home and plop on the couch that a young Lab puppy may be a bad idea for them but an elderly cat may be a better fit.
Despite these attempts I do see pets, who thought they were going into the “happily ever after” when they left the shelter with their new family in tow, return dejected and defeated. Sometimes it is soon after the adoption while other times it is months or even years later. (Fortunately Second Chance does have a policy that if for any reason the adopter is no longer able to care for their adopted pet that they are to be returned so that another home can be secured for that pet.)
Reasons for returns vary, from pet behavioral issues to changes in circumstances in the lives of the adopters, but often they can result from adopter’s expectations being set too high. If you think “being relinquished” does not emotionally impact us, well, you are wrong.
How do you prevent a failed adoption? Most important is to recognize that there will always be an adjustment period – for pet and family – and that this time period will vary depending upon the pet’s history and the household environment. Allowing adoptees time to adapt to new environments, routines, family members etc. is critical to this “honeymoon” phase.
With this in mind my staff here offer supportive services to pet parents whether they have adopted from Second Chance or not. If you have concerns or issues with your pets that you are unsure how to manage, or are beginning to think that you are losing patience with and considering relinquishing your pet – please call – the sooner the better.
My staff can assist you through general behavioral techniques or through referrals to additional resources such as Second Chance’s behavioral training courses. I urge you to not ignore issues of concern until the point when it is no longer feasible to address them. Prevention does work if applied in a timely manner.
Pets are family members. Typically if someone in your family is acting out it is often in response to something that can be corrected, avoiding it only escalates the situation. Making a lifetime commitment means working with your new pet through unexpected challenges. Of course there are always circumstances beyond our control – that will be addressed in next week’s Pet Column.
More about me you ask? Well I am a 7 year-young feline with absolutely elegant fur. I love to be loved so would be my best self as the only cat in the home. I am the largest cat in the shelter and thus the only cat you’ll need. I am a good conversationalist and very social dude. Consider me to brighten your Holidays!
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.