If recent months meant you put your new pet plans on hold, you may now be starting to put the wheels in motion to extend your family and welcome a new member. Many people research reputable breeders or consider designer dogs based on celebrity social media profiles, however, considering adopting a rescue animal can be hugely rewarding.
Animal rescue homes are currently overwhelmed with abandoned animals. The Covid-19 pandemic left many people unable to look after their pets due to financial constraints from being furloughed or made redundant, or the inability to give them the care and exercise they need due to medical shielding.
Add to this that many rescue centres, who rely on public charity to cover their running costs, have also seen a huge drop in financial support and it’s clear there is a greater need than ever to consider giving a rescue animal it’s ‘fur-ever’ home.
Adopt, don’t shop
There are thousands of animals around the UK who have been abandoned by their owners for one reason or another. They may have been badly treated or not well looked after and, as a result, not had the happy life that pets deserve. By giving one of these animals a second chance you’re contributing to giving them another, better life.
Things to consider
Rescue animals may come with a history, so you need to be prepared and able to deal with any issues which will be flagged to you by the animal shelter. Mistreatment may result in a nervous pet who will need lots of love, attention, and reassurance as well as the usual feeding, exercising and comfort elements.
Decide on what type of animal you can offer a good home to. If you have children at home and a rescue cat doesn’t get on well with children, for example, you’re not going to be able to change that. Adopting an animal isn’t just about saving them. It’s making sure they’re the right fit for you and your circumstances, and you’re right for them and theirs. If you’re looking for a dog, determine what is the right size breed based on the space you have at home. Don’t plan for a terrier and take home a Great Dane!
Most of all, make sure that – as far as is humanly possible – your new pet will be welcomed into your family permanently. Having already gone through losing an owner for whatever reason, it would be heart-breaking for your adopted animal to have to go back into the rehoming process for a second time.
What to expect
Animal charities will want to know a little bit about your home life, what space you have available and whether you have children or other pets. They may want to visit you at home to assess the suitability of the space.
Once the process is complete and you’re officially matched, be prepared for some readjustment time. Even though you’ve made your home welcoming, with comfy bedding, toys and good food, your new pet will need some time to get used to their new surroundings. They may be withdrawn, quiet or unresponsive in the early days. Try to reassure them without being overwhelming. Be patient with any toilet mishaps, speak to them with a gentle voice and don’t chastise them. They need to learn to trust you, so early impressions are essential.
Ready to start looking for a rescue pet?
There are a number of national charities who have available pets listed on their websites. Also, consider local animal rescue centres in your area.