Animal surrender rates are at an all-time high, with many shelters around Australia full of pets that can no longer be cared for.
Unfortunately, this was bound to happen following COVID isolation, where so many people adopted a pet for company. But as lives returned to normal, the busyness set in, and people returned to work, they no longer had time to care for their pets properly.
More than 200,000 pets are surrendered annually, with this year looking to boom past that already high number.
Animal shelters and charities are crying out for help, trying to avoid the hefty number of healthy dogs euthanised yearly due to rehoming issues (estimated at 44,000!).
Petbarn, one of Australia's biggest pet supply stores, has labelled February' Pet Rescue Month', hoping to find decent homes for thousands of surrendered animals.
You need to be ready to adopt a pet during Rescue Month
The last thing these shelters and animal shelters need is animals being rehomed, only to be returned to them within months. Not only is this very unsettling for the animal, but it also puts the shelter under strain again.
Before you decide you're ready to adopt a pet, ask yourself:
Do I have the time needed to devote to a new pet?
Can I match the physical energy of the pet?
Can I afford a pet (food, vet bills, immunisations, toys, bedding)?
Will a pet fit in with our family life (suitable for children, the house & yard)?
Will this pet get along with my other pets?
Am I allowed to keep pets at my current home, or do I need to seek permission first?
Can I commit to this pet for possibly 10-15+ years?
Do I want a young pet I need to train or an older one?
Am I prepared to be patient while my pet settles into its new life, overcomes old behaviours (possible anxiety from surrender), and gets used to my family and me?
Being mentally prepared for a pet should be top of your agenda. Yes, you could be super excited and have bought all the cute things for your new pet, but you must be 100% sure you're committed to the long haul.
Rescue pets are amazing, but it's hard on them if they are surrendered over and over.
The top benefits of adopting a rescue pet from a shelter
Once your rescue pet has settled into your home, family, and lifestyle, you'll find them one of the cuddliest, most appreciative pets you could have. All animals want is a safe place, good food and lots of love. In return, you'll have a companion who loves you unconditionally.
Here are the top benefits of adopting a rescue pet from a shelter:
You're giving them another chance at life – a good life full of love and care
It's cost-effective as rescue pets come with a full health check (so you'll know upfront if there are any health issues) and will be desexed
Rescue pets have gone through behavioural tests and basic training, so the shelter carers can guide you on how to keep this up at home
You can find young pets (kittens and puppies) through to adolescent, adult and senior pets, so you can find one to suit you
Senior pets are often more stable-natured and make an outstanding first rescue pet if you're not used to training and so on
You'll receive unconditional love
How to adopt an animal from a shelter or animal charity
Most shelters have websites so you can scroll through their adoption list before visiting. Make a list of the possible matches you've found.
When you visit the shelter, keep an open mind. The animals (especially on busy days) may be tired and not act normally. Ask to speak with the primary carer or trainer for an insight into the animal and its behaviour.
The staff at shelters are there to help you. They are usually spot on with matching pets with their new owners. Talk about your lifestyle and the time you have for your new pet so they can ensure the one you've chosen will fit in.
There will be some paperwork to fill out and an adoption fee to pay, but once that's done, you'll be able to take your new fur baby home.
If you have other pets, you can ask if you can hold a meet and greet session (most will recommend this). That way, you can check that your existing pet will be welcoming to your new family member.
I'm here if you need a hand looking after your new pet!
Don't put off adopting a pet if you don't think you'll be able to walk them every day or go away on holidays!
As a qualified, fully insured pet minder with over 10 years of experience (and many happy customers), I'm on hand to help you care for your new pet.
You can book a pet minding service online using my new online booking form – dog walks, pet sitting, and house sitting.
Here's a reminder of all my services.
Please remember, if we haven't met earlier, book a meet and greet session so we can see how your fur baby and myself interact. I love animals and wouldn't want your pet to feel uneasy and stressed out at any stage.
Until next time, pat your fur babies for me!