By Jenny Anderson
Special to Today’s News-Herald
Just last weekend the Western Arizona Humane Society sponsored a successful adoption event in our shelter parking lot. The local shelter staff partnered with the Kingman facility and the Parker shelter to place a total of 25 animals during this single event! Hopefully these 25 animals have found their forever home.
The reason I say, “hopefully” is the sad fact that too often animals are returned to the humane society within a relatively short time. In some cases this might be in the best interest of the animal, but mostly it’s just simply not allowing enough adjustment time. There are many reasons people might think the pet is not a good fit: too energetic, doesn’t get along with other animals, is not housebroken, barks too much, and the list goes on. The problem, in my opinion, is one of unrealistic expectations.
Most animals, when new to a household, can take quite some time to adjust to the new surroundings and the routines. For this reason we need to be consistent, patient, and loving with the new addition. Dogs, cats, and other small animals usually respond to a caring person, although some have experienced some sort of trauma in the past and require extra special care. Many animals who have been surrendered to a shelter are insecure for a time. Once they receive training and learn to trust “their person”, this insecurity diminishes.
My dog had a laundry list of “deficiencies” when I first brought her home. She was quite timid and skittish in new situations. For us, none of the problems former owners experienced, including barking & escaping the yard, were evident. I had to take her through two rounds of training classes, and she finally passed Canine Good Citizen. We worked with her in spite of her insecurities, and as a result, she has been a great companion. The time and effort spent with her have been so worth it.
When a new animal comes into the home, it’s essential to plan for together time before leaving the pet alone. Never transfer a new animal to isolation in the garage or back yard without spending ample time together first. Too often shelter animals have been surrendered more than once, making them very unsettled and fearful. It does take time to build trust, but the resulting bond is well worth the effort. If the new addition will be joining other pets in the home, introduce them gradually and carefully, always supervising time together. The existing companion animals may need to make some adjustments, too. Anxiety may result because the newcomer is vying for attention. All the pets in your home may need a little extra TLC until everyone settles into a routine
Best Friends Animal Society just released some sad statistics: “Every day more than 9,000 dogs and cats are killed in shelters right here in the U.S. That’s around four million animals every year who just want to be loved. It’s going to take all of our voices to stop the killing. But we can do it.” The hope is that eventually we will begin to save them all. Our local shelter staff has come a long way in their efforts to do this—but this can only be done with your help. Let us all work together to help save the lives of healthy, adoptable companion animals.
The Western Arizona Humane Society is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details. To find lost pets, call 855-4111. View animals found at www.lhcpd.com.