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Home / Articles / Columnists / Healthy Living /  Considering Animal Adoption?
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Thursday, September 3,2020

Considering Animal Adoption?

By Karen Ellis-Ritter  
I have always been a huge advocate for fostering and adopting animals. In doing so, you are saving a life, abstaining from the support of abusive puppy mills and unnecessary breeding – and you receive unwavering gratitude and unconditional love in return! In this current unprecedented isolation, it might just be a perfect time to entertain this notion.

I have an incredibly loving rescue dog (a red-nosed pit bull) and two domestic rescue cats who reside among the human members of my family. They all came from Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League (PeggyAdams.org) in West Palm Beach. I exclusively adopt adults, because they are often the last to be considered, though they have so much love to give and so much life still to live. I can’t say that their acclimations have been seamless – or that there aren’t interpersonal challenges within these animal relationships – but I can say that the reward far outweighs the growing pains and adjustments.

In conversation, I hear people’s concerns about adopting an adult dog, fearing that they might be “damaged” or too set in their ways. I hear concerns about not finding the “right breed” or knowing their history. Whether an animal is a puppy or an adult, they are unique, sentient individuals who need time to adjust to new surroundings and acclimate to the other members of your household. It is unrealistic to expect an animal to immediately warm up and feel secure, though they might sometimes.

If you purchased that cute little puppy at the pet store, it is more than likely that he or she came from a puppy mill, which can be a traumatic and terrifying early experience. Retail purchase does not guarantee a dog’s health or level of emotional stability. Regardless of where animals come from, they need time, patience, and the space to come to their own conclusions. They may have some accidents in the house, or a medical issue. They may challenge or get challenged by other non-human members of your household. Like any member of the family, we have an obligation to ensure their safety, health care and emotional wellbeing, if we choose to take on this responsibility.

Fostering is also a great way to help animals while enjoying their company, without committing or needing to cover the financial responsibility of their care. The rescue will pay for food and expenses while you offer your home and shelter. There is a desperate need for foster homes, so check out your local shelter or rescue if you are interested.

There are countless rescue organizations, big and small, all over the country. There are also breed specific rescues, if your heart is set on that. There are even rescues for reptiles, birds, fish, rodents, and various “farm” animals. You can do an advanced search on PetFinder.com.

Get in bed or cozy up on the couch with a new furry, feathered or scaly friend today!

 

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