|The Rescuers - Pets and animals rescue|
For many pet owners, the idea of rescuing their next cat or dog, or indeed rabbit, is an appealing one. Visit Battersea or one of the myriad shelters across the country, and you’ll see why. An unfortunate fact of the current economic climate is that many people who lose their homes, or go through relationship break ups or other major life changes, are unable to take their beloved pet with them. Seeing abandoned animals, in desperate need of a new ‘forever’ home and lots of affection, is usually enough to melt the iciest of hearts. But is adoption always the best idea?
It is an interesting question. Anecdotally, rescuing often turns out to be a rewarding choice. My parents have a rescued Border Collie, who was slowly going crazy in her former home due to marauding kids and very little stimulation or exercise. Collies are very clever, and despite her quirks, she is now spoilt rotten, living in a beautiful countryside location, and has more walks and games than you (or she!) can shake a stick at. As a private adoption, they weren’t one hundred percent aware of the complex needs of pet collies, but fortunately have worked hard to understand her, and have ended up with a beautiful, beloved pet. A friend has rescued several greyhounds at the end of their racing life. Despite their reputation and their impossibly long legs, all have turned out to be gentle natured, loving dogs content to lap the local park a couple of times a day and nuzzle up to the kids. For every positive story you hear however, there will of course be those rehoming exercises which did not end quite so happily. Some dogs may have been ill treated before arriving at the rescue centre, or may have had behavioural or health problems which need to be dealt with both by the centre and by new owners, and these can be hard work to both live with and form a plan to work with.
Most rescues have a comprehensive homing policy, meaning that they will try to match you with the right animal for your home and family. Taking on any pet is a big commitment. You need to ensure you have the time to nurture them, clean and care for them; financial resources, as vets bills can be very high for unexpected illness or accident, and somewhere suitable for them to live. Sadly, without this assessment procedure, some rehomed animals can end up returned to the centre because the decision is not well enough informed. If you live in a high level flat, for example, not just any cat will do, but perhaps an elderly, housebound moggy who has lost their owner will want to spend their days on your lap and be content to stay an indoor pet. Likewise, some rabbits may have been reared as indoor pets, and cannot be rehomed with a family who wish to keep them in the garden. Usually, an adoption will involve a visit to determine what type of pet you are looking for. You will usually undergo some sort of assessment, to ensure you are matched with the most suitable animal for your lifestyle and family. You will likely meet all suitable matches, and spend some time with your chosen animal before making a decision. Once the decision is made, the RSPCA and many other rescue centres will then organise a home visit to check that it is going to be a happy, healthy environment for your pet, before they will allow the animal to leave. What this means is that you should have a proper understanding of your dogs needs and personality, or know exactly what your cat needs in his diet, so that you can make informed choices. Essentially, the process is a bit like dating; but usually means that you should meet your perfect match – as there are all types of people, so there are all types of pets. Whatever you are looking for, it is worth considering adoption.
Most centres require a fairly minimal donation before you rehome; without these, they would be unable to provide the care and service they offer. These cover inoculations, identity tagging and so on, as well as helping to support the centre. Rescue centres do wonderful work, and shockingly, most receive absolutely no help or funding from the government, instead relying solely on fundraising and donations to exist. The RSPCA rehomed nearly 84,000 animals last year alone, and various other organisations bring this total to astronomical figures. Every abandoned pet deserves its chance at a ‘forever’ home, and the result can be a rewarding, frustrating, hilarious relationship with your pet.
Animal Welfare societies click here for a full list.
Animal Rescue Centres click here for a full list.