Before you get a pet, please think about the future. There are so many reasons people want to give up their pet, and many can be avoided if a bit of thought was put into it before bringing an animal home. Here are the main reasons we have animals surrendered to rescue
No longer have the time
Animals do take up a lot of time. Sometimes things happen in life, meaning that you no longer have the time to spend with your pet. There are other options before giving them up. If you have a dog and have changed working hours, consider taking your dog to doggy daycare. Most of these are home run, and your dog will have care whilst you are out. You could also look into getting a dog walker to break up the day for them. If you have smaller animals, such as rabbits, look into getting secure, constant access to a run to allow them more space. If you want to do this, you will need to ensure the accommodation is fox proof for their safety. You could convert an aviary if you have space, or get a hutch with an attached run. Make sure the run is on a solid base, such as patio slabs or concrete to stop them digging out, or anyone else digging in. Also make sure the wire mesh is strong, as many pet shop runs are made with flimsy material. If you have smaller rodents, such as rats, get them a secure playpen. When you get home, you can put them in the playpen whilst you watch TV so they aren’t taking up extra time. Just make sure you keep an eye on them.
We get lots of animals come in as they are displaying undesirable behaviours. Most of these can be worked with. There are lots of dog behaviourists you could contact, but make sure you look into their training methods before you start with them. A lot of dogs come in with separation anxiety, and I know a lot about this as all of my dogs had this when I adopted them. Luckily, it can be worked with, although it is a slow process. We also get asked to take a lot of small animals, such as hamsters who bite. Again, this can be cured with confidence training and gentle handling. A lot of rabbits come to us for aggression – this can usually be cured by getting them neutered. Sometimes your pet just needs a bit of help to return to being a well-adjusted animal. Talk to your vet before consulting a behaviourist to ensure their behaviour is not linked to pain.
Child got bored
Pets can do wonders for children. I had pets growing up and had fond memories of all of them. Unfortunately, some children lose interest in their pet. The best thing to do is to get your child to engage with the pet as much as possible – Any animal should be the adult’s responsibility, but the child can help out with feeding, brushing and interacting with them. Get them to help out with the fun part of pet owning so they realise how lucky they are to share their life with an animal.
Some people contact us when they are moving, and cannot take their pet with them. If you are renting, ask the landlord before you sign the forms if you are allowed to take your pet. If they say yes, get them to put this in writing in your contract. Other people who own small animals, such as rabbits say they won’t have a garden so cannot take the bunnies with them. Lots of people keep house rabbits, and they have wonderful lives. Look into bunny-proofing your home so you can keep them.
Pets can be expensive. Not only do you need to worry about the costs for food and bedding, but unexpected vet bills can cost a lot of money. If you can, get your pet insured so any large vet bills will hopefully be covered. There are vets that will help if you are on benefits, so your vet bills won’t be as high.
Too many animals
Some people can’t resist an animal, and purchase them on impulse without thinking about if they really can take on another animal. Even if you fall in love with an animal, really think if you are in a good position to take them on. Try to consider what may happen in the future, and if this could affect your decision.
Sometimes people hand animals in because they or a member of their family have developed an allergy. Before you give up your pet, speak to your doctor as there are medications out there that can help. Having an allergy to animals myself, I know it isn’t pleasant, and obviously some people are affected more severely than others. A doctor will also be able to help you rule out other things that could trigger your allergy – it may not even be caused by your pet. If you think you are allergic to your pets bedding, try a different brand as some types are dustier than others which can affect you.
Rescued an animal and can’t keep it
Another common reason we hear for not being able to keep an animal, is the person saw it on the free ads, took it on but cannot keep it. Most of these people want us to take the animal urgently, as they didn’t think about the care of the animal before taking it on. Unfortunately, most rescues are unable to take animals straight away and will add you to a waiting list until they have space.
It’s no surprise that entire animals will breed! Sometimes pet shops missex animals, resulting in unsuspecting owners ending up with lots of babies. If you think you have a male and female, take them to your local vet and ask them to confirm the sex. If you do have an accidental litter, make sure a knowledgeable person sexes the babies and find out when to split the sexes to prevent further breeding.
Of course, not all scenarios can be predicted, however most rescues are full to bursting with very long waiting lists, so do give it a lot of thought before bringing a pet home. If you are unable to keep your pet, contact your local rescue for advice, rather than putting it on the free ads. The reason for this is most rescues will offer lifetime back up for the animal, which means they will always take it back should the new owners be unable to keep it. Also, they will match the pet with an adopter to get the best match, as well as vetting all homes before allowing anyone to take the animal home. Because rescues do more checks, unlike pet shops, anyone offering to adopt will be more likely to have put a lot of thought into taking on the animal, before bringing it home.
Want to read more? Here are 10 of the most annoying things to say to an animal rescuer.