She looks up at you, “But it’s so cute, daddy, I really want a puppy!”, and your heart melts and you buy the gorgeous little creature for your precious daughter. But wait! Six months down the line she no longer cares for the teething and boisterous puppy. She now wants a bunny…
Okay okay, not all tales of pet abandonment start this way but this is still very common. Some people emigrate and have to leave pets behind, or the tiny puppy you bought is now too heavy to continue sitting on you lap during movie night. But I think we can all agree that more often than not pets lose their appeal when they grow up; they need daily attention, “I’m just way too busy!” and the medical and food bills start weighing up.
I’ve just painted you a very bleak picture but when it comes to getting a pet one needs to be realistic because you are taking on a little life that is completely dependent on you.
So you’re still not put off and really want a pet, what is the responsible solution?
ADOPT DON’T SHOP
Instead of buying a farmed puppy from a litter of 12 where the mum’s sole purpose is to pump out babies, do some research into the alternatives. Go and check out shelters and re-homing websites (I will put a list of some great South African ones at the bottom of the page). Getting a shelter animal doesn’t mean it’s going to be really old. Some shelters, including the SPCA, take animal orders. You can put your name down for the next puppy/ kitten/ bunny that comes in. Although, getting the older animals means that you avoid house training!
Another interesting alternative is signing up to be an animal foster parent. This usually includes looking after a shelter pet from anywhere between a few days and a month while the organisation that you are fostering for looks for a ‘forever home’. This is a great alternative for students and people who are not sure if they are ready for full adoption because you get the satisfaction of having a wonderful little pet but are also able to gage whether you will be able to look after a pet for its entire lifetime. I recently fostered a rabbit with my flat mate, Kiara, and we realised that the responsibility of having a pet is too much for us while studying at university. (Kiara took this photo of our little bunny friend sitting on her bed).
Why should you adopt and not shop?
- You are saving a life, literally
Every year millions of shelter animals die because there are not enough homes for them to go to. Each time you buy a farm bred animal it is taking a potential home away from an already wonderful creature. Save a life and pick out your new friend from a local shelter.
- The Adult Advantage
Adopting an adult animal is often more practical than getting a baby. Babies are adorable but require a lot more attention and are very hyperactive. Adult animals are generally better house trained and can stay at home comfortably while you are at work, babies cannot.
- Health Advantages
Shelter animals are usually a mixed breed of animals and have very good immune systems. They also have a better chance of avoiding genetic defects because of inbreeding e.g. hip dysplasia, aggression, breathing problems, allergies etc.
“Animals in shelters come in all ages, sizes, colors, and personalities. Short hair or long hair, foo-foo or rugged dogs, playful pups or lap dogs, snuggly cats or mousers can all be found in shelters.” – http://www.awss.co.za/about-us/dont-shop-adopt/
- It’ll cost you less
Buying a pet from a shelter usually costs between R250-R750 whereas purebred animals can cost thousands of rands. Also, shelters and rescue groups often include vaccinations, micro-chipping, and spaying or neutering in the adoption fee.
- Bragging Rights
“No one needs to see another selfie—unless it’s a selfie of you with the adorable pet you just adopted! Adopt a pet, post those pictures and let the well-earned likes roll in.” – http://bit.ly/2fDJZjH.
However, let’s not forget that the phrase “adopt don’t shop” doesn’t mean that all breeders are bad. If you want to hear the other side of the story I found this informative article – http://www.thatmutt.com/2014/03/31/dog-breeders-vs-dog-rescue-groups/.
These are only a few of the adoption websites that I have found…
– Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch
– Tears Animal Rescue
– SPCA Cape Town
– Megs Mutts
– Uitsig Animal Rescue Centre
– Animal Rescue Organisation
– The Lucky Lucy Foundation
– Fallen Angels
– SPCA Durban
– SPCA Sandton and Eastern Metro
– Barking Mad
– Ark Animal Centre
– African Tails
Remember, you can’t buy love, but you can adopt it! #AdoptDontShop