Adopting a pet from a shelter

Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is a wonderful and caring thing to do. As an adult, the first cat I chose came from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) shelter.

I knew what I wanted, or rather, what I didn’t want. I wanted a girl kitten. I did not want a short-hair or a tabby. So what did I end up taking home? My new daughter, Pudi, was an estimated minimum of six months old and a short-haired tabby. One out of four is not bad…is it?

An animal shelter is a difficult place to go to for an animal lover. The animals always look adorable and so needy of special love and attention. Although shelters do their best with the resources and funding they have, I was upset for Pudi – she was in close proximity to barking dogs and all the other cats in the shelter were much older. Despite not meeting most of my pre-requisites, I could no more walk away from her than I could go to live at the shelter. Pudi became a firm and beloved addition to the family.

However, adoptions have their downside, too. One is that you have no history of the animal and its parentage. Pudi lived six months who knows where before turning up on an older lady’s doorstep one day. The lady fed her scallops and then took her to the shelter, where she sat waiting for me.

Unfortunately, she did come with issues. A hormonal problem meant she was prone to spraying urine everywhere, including inside. This is a particularly unpleasant problem. It got worse during times of stress, like any change in the arrangement of furniture. A particularly loud visitor could also promote a bout of spraying. I remember once when my husband borrowed a book from a workmate. We ended up buying a new copy for the lender since Pudi took exception to the foreign smell it came with.

She was very scared of anyone except those she lived with, her family. Not at all sociable with outsiders, it took her a long time to get to know anyone. On the other hand, she was incredibly trusting and loyal to the family. I could put a collar around her neck, dig out something lodged in her mouth, and feed her medicine, all without being clawed, scratched, or bitten. She never once used her claws on me, even in play, but she did on others.

None of this should deter anyone who wishes to give a home to a shelter animal. All of these animals have been neglected, abandoned, mistreated, or otherwise find themselves without a permanent abode. It is wise, however, to be thoughtful about the needs of the animal and what it will mean for your household. A malnourished animal may have or develop health issues. Are you willing to spend the time and money on seeing the pet has appropriate veterinary care? A maltreated animal may have control issues or tendency to aggression. Can you afford the time and finance of attending a dog training school or other such help where it exists? This is by no means always the case for even a mistreated dog can become the most loyal and warm companion.

For all the unfortunate clean-up jobs I was required to do, sometimes daily, I never regret having Pudi. Love makes a family. What animal needs your love today?