A couple of years ago, a dog who frequently stayed with me when his “parents” traveled–and who loved my home–accidentally saw his parent’s suitcases. Excited at the thought that he was going with them, he became agitated and upset once he saw them get in the car and drive away and, for several hours, he made it clear that he wasn’t at all interested in staying with me, despite toys, play, tummy rubs and treats.
The point is this: He was probably even that much more reactive since he was once adopted–and then abandoned–by an elderly person who just couldn’t handle this dog’s (good-natured) mischief and high energy. Although it had been a few years since that abandonment–and although, for the most part, he adjusted to his new home, they just never forget.
So it’s important to remember that, when adopting, you’re quite sure the breed suits you and your family–and that you really want it and are committed to a 10+ year commitment.
It’s also never really a good idea to give someone a pet as a gift, unless you know for sure that they want one. This may sound a little contradictory, since the holiday season is fraught with pleas to adopt animals. But here’s the problem: A lot of times, well-intentioned people will give a dog or a cat to someone who doesn’t really want it at all, is allergic, or who wants one, but not that breed. (I once knew someone who wanted to give my mother–who is severely allergic–a cat. Luckily, I was able to stop it before it got too far.) When that happens, unfortunately, the animal often ends up back at the shelter.
A little research and some advance planning will ensure that you and your future pet have the best living situation possible.
Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP, is a nutrition and wellness coach–for the two-legged. Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways To Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website (for humans) is: www.eating4achieving.com.