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Don't adopt a pet with just your heart


Puppies are adorable, but think carefully before adopting.
(AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Dan Pelle)
Nashville Pet Training Examiner, Tracy B. Ann, has an excellent article on “kill” vs. “no kill” animal shelters and what we need to understand about them (see link below). Tracy cautions that we must minimize emotionalism in our attitudes toward shelters by recognizing that the shelters themselves are only a symptom of a larger problem.
In fact, that very emotionalism is a major factor in creating the problem itself. For one thing, there is a tendency to see pets, especially puppies, kittens, and other infant animals, as just such cute little things. Surely we must have one.
Once that maternal or paternal impulse kicks in, so does our need for sometimes selfish gratification. Regardless of whether we are in a position to adopt a pet, we’ve got to have one. It’s just so cute. The kids must have it. We must have it.
Maybe we could teach the kids a lesson in responsibility. Maybe we could teach ourselves. Regardless of how full animal shelters are, becoming a pet owner is a responsibility. Being a responsible pet owner means considering the following:
1)    Does my schedule allow me to give This Pet the care it will need? Consider the breed of dog you’re getting. Breeds are very, very different from each other and have very different needs. Think about the pet’s needs ahead of your own. The easiest time to do that is before you get it.
2)    Do I have the energy to give This Pet the care it will need? Consider the breed of dog you’re getting. Breeds are very, very different from each other and have very different needs. (Do I sound redundant here? Good.) Think about the pet’s needs ahead of your own. The easiest time to do that is before you get it. 
3)    Do I know enough about having This Pet to give it the care it will need? Am I motivated to educate myself? I mean by not just relying on outdated training techniques or questionable beliefs you’ve accepted since you were a kid. (“Every pet should get to reproduce just once.” “I don’t want a dog who’s an ‘it.’” “He’s dominant; he needs to be put in his place.”) I mean giving careful consideration to a lifetime of thoughtful, educated, flexible yet consistent pet ownership.
4)   Think about the future. How will This Pet fit into your life? Do you expect to travel? Get married? Get divorced? Have kids? Work around the clock? Move to a pet-free apartment complex?
5)    Is being alive at any cost more important than quality of life? In other words, if you save this animal’s life but you can’t fulfill its needs, are you doing it a favor? The answer would arouse a great deal of debate. What do you think?  
Pets have one major thing in common with kids: everyone shouldn’t have one. And they share another major thing in common with kids: most of us think we should. Or we feel guilty saying no. (“Everyone should have a pet.” “You must be a cold hearted person.” “I can’t turn the kids down.”) The results can be disastrous…for both pets and kids. 
None of us is perfect and all of us will fail our pets at times along the way, just as we fail each other—and ourselves. But a healthy dose of “What’s best for this particular dog/cat/rabbit/fish?” will go a long way in preventing abuse, abandonment, unwise breeding, and just plain old unhappiness.  All those things that lead to pets in shelters—whether you call them “kill” or “no kill.”
See "'Kill' vs. 'No-Kill' shelters," by Tracy B Ann, Nashville Pet Training Examiner 


  • Tracy B Ann 5 years ago

    Nice article Nancy! After my first 2 dogs died at 15 and 16, I waited 6 mos to get another dog. My lifestyle is dogs, that's all I do all day - work with dogs.
    I still didn't want emotions overuling my brain and choosing a pup for me.
    I found some pups on Craig's list and emailed back and forth with the owner (who had made an honest mistake and ended up with 8 pups.)
    From the emails and pictures I could tell the level of care the pups were getting.
    I went for my first visit and spent hours testing the pups and just observing.
    I walked away with NO pup just as I had intended to.
    I mulled them over for days. I had settled on 3 choices. Two were emotions only and one was my logical choice after testing.
    I went back to see the pups at the end of the week. I had one more test to do, on the pups dad. He passed!
    Now, to choose a pup. I bent over to tie my shoe and one pup came running to me - the one that was my logical choice. Perhaps he picked me, but he is the love of my life.

  • Birmingham Dog Care Examiner April 5 years ago

    Great article! I wish more people would think before getting a puppy. I'm a big proponent of adopting an older dog, as I've written about, and rescue. Like you, we've heard every excuse in the book and not one of them considers the dog's point of view. Thanks for asking people to be logical and rational rather than emotional.

  • John C. 5 years ago

    Whatever Pet you get Protect It!

    Summertime is prime time for pets to get out and lost. Be sure to have proper, updated tag identification or your pet will end up in Animal Control and most people don’t understand that they have in some cases less than a week to be retrieved or they are euthanized.
    Microchips are great but good only "after" the pets already been rescued and the facility hopefully has the proper scanner to ready your brand of tag!
    Not only are 90% 0f non-id lost animals not found---over 75% of all domestic animals captured nationwide by Animal Control facilities are euthanized! There's a great new pet rescue tag service called "Pawtags Rescue"- where each tag has its own id number and Live trained 24/7 Operator rescue services for $10!
    Their service allows you to develop a profile with up to ten contact numbers, listing rabies id, microchip info, city licensing, vet and medical info along with the pet’s profile. When someone finds your pet the Operators access t