The National Humane Education Society (NHES) loves nothing more than when a new family finds just the perfect dog or cat for them. Unfortunately, we at NHES, as well as other shelters, have too often seen the somber consequences of a pet adoption decision made too quickly. Animal shelters across the U.S. are overcrowded with dogs and cats that were acquired for the wrong reasons or without sufficient investigation and personal commitment.
NHES has provided an important laundry
list of facts to discuss within your family BEFORE adopting a puppy or a kitten. In order to be fair to your family as well as the pet, NHES feels it is a good idea to consider what these baby animals ARE NOT…
1. A puppy or kitten IS NOT a toy.
A kitten or puppy is a living, sentient being who needs love and proper care the rest of his life. Pets cannot brush, bathe nor clean up after themselves (accidents, shedding) and so, they impose additional work on a household. Please remember, children will follow their parents’ example in their attitude and care toward pets.
2. A puppy or kitten IS NOT cheap.
Consider the cost of…routine and emergency vet care, food, toys, litter, leashes, licensing fees and personal property damages that normally occur over the entire pet’s lifespan.
3. A kitten or puppy IS NOT an adult.
A puppy or kitten cannot wait long periods before relieving himself. He cannot differentiate between what is a toy and what is not. Puppies and kittens require patience, understanding, and supervision-just as with young children. If you work out of the house and do not have time for training and play, an older dog would suit your lifestyle better.
4. A puppy or kitten IS NOT a puppy or kitten forever.
Yet, our animal friends need your love and care forever. The average dog lives to be 10 to 15 years old; cats can live even longer. Please be sure that you and your family understand the lifelong commitment involved before succumbing to the charms of a cute little puppy or kitten.
NHES hopes that these tips will be of use to families before they make a decision that ends in heartbreak for all. Deciding what pet is right for you is a very important issue that is certainly worthy of a family meeting!
Cheryl Spencer Scher, Director of Education The National Humane Education Society (NHES) www.nhes.org