Animal shelters across the nation take care of countless unwanted animals. They care for these animals by keeping them happy and healthy until they can find permanent homes. Some shelters even investigate animal cruelty, help owners find their lost pets, and provide spay and neuter services. To help the efforts that shelters go through every day, 365 days a year, the best thing you can do is make sure that you are part of the solution and not part of the problem. Here’s how to become part of the solution:
Spay or Neuter Your Pet
If you are a pet owner, spay or neuter your pet before they reach the age of sexual maturity. The chances of your pet developing mammary or testicular cancer decrease if you spay or neuter before sexual maturity. An added benefit to you as the pet owner is that certain undesirable behaviors may be altered with spaying or neutering. For example, animals tend to roam less, and fewer will mark their territory once they are spayed or neutered. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your female dog or cat going into heat.
Own Your Pet for Life
If you own a pet, remember that it is a lifetime commitment. Many owners will get married, have children, move, start a new job, etc., throughout our pets’ lifetimes. When these changes occur, it should not be a reason to give up your pet.
Studies have shown that regardless of the reason given when an animal is surrendered to a shelter, behavior problems are the underlying issue most of the time. If your pet has a correctable behavior problem, try to get professional advice and training before you opt to hand over your pet to an already overpopulated shelter.
Before You Shop, Adopt
If you don’t own a pet but would like to, choose an animal shelter over a pet store. There are many shelters in the Santa Barbara area alone with hundreds of pets looking for loving homes. Even if you’re looking for a purebred, you may find one at an animal shelter. For a listing of Santa Barbara area rescue groups, animal controls, and humane societies, visit animaladoptionsolutions.com
If you don’t see what you’re looking for at a local animal shelter, you can go online. Go to petfinder.com and you can search by area, breed, sex, and size of the animal.
Show up to the shelter informed. Here are some questions you should ask the animal shelter before you adopt:
• How is an animal’s behavior evaluated? Most dogs should be tested for their tolerance when being handled as well as their behavior around food.
• How will the animal get along with other animals? What about with kids?
• What medical treatments and health evaluations have been done? Cats should be tested for FIV/Feline leukemia and worms, be up to date on shots, and be spayed or neutered.
• Dogs should be tested for heartworm disease and worms, be up to date on shots, and be spayed or neutered. If these tests and procedures haven’t been done, you will want to take the pet to the vet soon after adopting.
• Are there trainers on staff to help if you encounter behavior problems with your pet? If not, ask if they have any recommendations.
• What happens if it doesn’t work out with the newly adopted pet? Some shelters have strict rules that the pet must be returned to the shelter.
In honor of shelter appreciation, G by GUESS has come up with a “Shelters Rock” T-shirt and is donating 100 percent of the net profits to the Humane Society of the United States, in support of their companion animal programs. Click Women’s “Shelters Rock” T-shirt or Men’s “Shelters Rock” T-shirt to purchase.