Why do people abandon animals?
Spain has one of the highest rates of animal abandonment in the European Union, and many of these cases could have been avoided if there had been adequate reflection and thought before deciding to take an animal home.
According to the Afinitty Foundation, there are 16 animals abandoned every hour in our country. Some of the motives that people give for abandoning the animals are: pregnancy, separation, allergies, moving house, change of job, molting hair, barking, urinating, scratching the woodwork, growth, inability to attend as required, illness and a long etcetera.
If you wish to share your life with an animal adopting and not purchasing is the most ethical and responsible way. If you adopt an animal you are not just offering them a new opportunity but you are also saving another animal from the streets that will go on to occupy the place of the cat or dog that has entered into your home, and also you will not be contributing to the sale and exploitation of pets.
But before adopting an animal you have to ask yourself a few questions, have clear what you want and be sure that you can care for them until the end of their days, and that this decision is going to bring about some changes in your life. Adopting is an act of generosity and responsibility.
Take some moments to reflect over these questions:
⇒ Are you going to be able to commit to this responsibility for the lifetime of the animal?
A dog or a cat will become a member of the family, and you have to take care of them and love them. They need time, attention, visits to the vet, walks and patience.
⇒ And vacations?
Even though every day there are more places that admit animals you have to reserve in advance and at an extra cost. Another option is kennels or animal ‘hotels’. These implicate a cost and you should always visit them first to make sure they are legal, see their conditions, ask how often they walk the animals, taking your pet with you so that they can familiarize themselves with the place and with the people that are going to take care of them. This way the separation will be less traumatic. Or, can you leave your pet with a family member or close friend, where they will feel at home.
⇒ Is now the moment?
It’s not always the right moment to assume the responsibility of an animal at home, and not just for economic reasons. So, you need to think with a clear head because there are some circumstances where we advise you wait a while:
- You are pregnant or have children that are younger than 6 years old and you have no time.
- You are studying and moving around.
- You work in administration, the forces or another type of work that means moving frequently.
- You travel a lot for work.
- At home not everyone is in agreement or it is not a relaxed atmosphere.
To keep going in a responsible way it’s important to begin life together in a responsible way, don’t forget.
⇒ Is your way of life suitable for this animal?
Choosing and animal for its physical appearance or size is a mistake, what is more important is its character. In general, smaller animals are more active and bark more. Bigger ones tend to be calmer. When they are smaller you need to take them out more. If you travel a lot you could think of a small dog or a cat if you want to assure that they can use most kinds of public transport services. The best thing is to let yourself be advised by members of the protection team, for us the most important thing is a good adoption.
⇒ Can I have an animal where I live?
Before starting to look for an animal ask yourself if where you live accepts animals or if there are any restrictions (dogs no but cats yes, for example). If your home is your property are there any community rules? If you are renting are there any clauses in your contract? That way you will avoid unpleasant surprises. It’s also important to make sure that no one in the family has allergies or is asthmatic.
⇒ Are you prepared to face any possible problems that may arise?
Behavioral problems, illnesses, a partner that does not like cats or dogs, divorce, moving to a smaller home…
⇒ Can you maintain them?
Taking the correct care of a pet implies expenses: some fixed (food, vaccinations, leashes, collars, toys…) and other possible ones (training, vet fees for illness or accidents, pet hotel….) it is important that before you adopt you take a look at the possible expenses and decide if you can afford them.
⇒ Do you have time?
Animals need time dedicated to them. To give them food and water, take them for walks, make sure they have exercise, to keep them amused… every day, during all of their days, and they don’t understand cold, rain, festive days or holidays.
⇒ Are you sure you want the commitment of an animal?
Remember that it is a living thing, it feels and it has its needs. It is not an object or a toy.
If any of your answers is NO, but you still want to help an animal maybe you could think about SPONSORING one.
REMEMBER BEFORE ADOPTING
- Previous agreement with all the family members who will live with the animal.
- Don’t give an animal as a surprise gift to anyone (regardless of their age).
- Don’t have preconceived ideas: get advice from the people at the refuge, they know each animal and they can advise you of its character and behavior.
- Puppies are not always the best option, their age only guarantees that you both start from zero, and they require a lot of time and patience. Adult animals have already formed their character, they are easy to distract and you can see how they react to other animals, children…
- Don’t decide for yourself to give an animal to someone who has just lost one; this is a personal decision and every person needs time to get over the loss.
- NEVER take an animal because ‘the children are asking for one’. The children are not going to be the ones to take it for a walk first thing in the morning, or last thing at night and a long list of etcetera’s. Think that you all have to want to live with the animal.
- Don’t chose special days to present the animal (Christmas, birthdays…) or promise them as a prize for something. This turns them into ‘a gift for’ and it’s not an object like a bicycle, and unconsciously they will never be respected as a living thing.
“An animal is a responsibility that will prolong during its whole life and many of these animals that are bought or gifted for Christmas end up in the street, dying of hunger and cold, or run over, when that could be perfectly avoided.”