by Barry KuKes
Sometimes, finding the right pet is very similar to finding the perfect mate or a new best friend. The trial-and-error process can easily be compared to dating. Think about it. If you are interested in dating someone, you go to places where potential candidates conjugate. If you are looking for a new pet, you go to places where new pets are available, like a shelter.
If you happen to be attracted to someone, you might ask them out on a date or for coffee. In the case of a pet, you might ask to take the dog for a walk or ask if the cat can be placed in a secure room so you can get better acquainted. This is very similar to a first date.
At this point, dating and adopting a pet go their separate ways because you can’t legally adopt another human over 18-years of age and force them to live with you. Yes, you may want to adopt that handsome man or beautiful woman, but you cannot. It would help if you continued dating to see where the relationship goes.
Fortunately, when adopting a pet, you can have the pet move in the same day, but some people need more time with a pet before making the adoption commitment.
There are some options and alternatives to adopting immediately. One option is fostering. You can volunteer to foster animals in need, and when the animal is ready for adoption, you have the right of first refusal should you like to adopt the animal as your forever pet formerly.
Another option available at our shelter (HHS) is our Beach Buddies program that lets you take a dog out for a day or a weekend to get to know each other better. Even if you decide not to adopt the dog, someone else might meet the dog (a neighbor, etc.), and they might adopt the dog. The Beach Buddies program lets dogs, and people get to know each other, and at the very least, it allows the dog to get out of the shelter for a day or two.
So many animals are adopted on the spur of the moment and then returned because the chemistry wasn’t right or the animal didn’t get along with another pet in the home. We have seen some animals returned as many as 5-times, but then on the sixth adoption, the match was perfect. The adopter will write to us and say, “I don’t understand why people kept returning this dog. She’s perfect for our family and gets along with our cat just fine.” It takes time to find a new best friend that loves you as much as you love them.
Be patient when adopting a pet. Take your time finding the one you feel will best fit your lifestyle and family. Don’t expect the perfect pet in the first few days. Give the animal some time to adjust and get to know their new surroundings. Again, similar to dating or having your new spouse move into your home, there is a time of adjustment. At least a new pet won’t tell you to put your velvet Elvis in the garage or make you clean out your closet to make room for their clothes. Pets need attention, but for the most part, they are just happy to have a home and someone to call mom or dad. Lastly, remember to adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the Halifax Humane Society. You can reach Barry at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or BarryK@halifaxhumanesociety.org