Honest answers needed to successfully place pets
Of the many ways animals come to the Yavapai Humane Society, one of the most common is the dog or cat that is surrendered to the shelter. The role of the shelter, of course, is to provide a haven for displaced animals until we can find them a new home. For us, finding that new home starts the moment that animal is surrendered to us. The information we get from the person bringing us the animal is critical to making the right future match for that pet.
Far too often, people are less than forthcoming with information that would help us. It can be difficult or sometimes embarrassing to surrender an animal to the shelter, but we're here to serve both the human and their animal. To do that, however, we need as much information as we can. We're here to help, never to judge.
They key to helping any animal surrendered to us is getting as much accurate, honest information as we can. Some of the most important information we can use includes the pet's veterinarian, their medical records, what kind of food the pet has been eating, behavior issues the pet has experienced, and pretty much anything else you might know about your animal. Write this information down and bring it with you. It will expedite the surrender process and help assure your pet finds the right new home. You can also visit our website at www.yavapaihumane.org to download a copy of the surrender questionnaire and fill it out ahead of time. If the situation isn't urgent, meaning you can keep the animal for a period of time, a foster-based organization like United Animal Friends might be the best option for you and your pet.
Believe it or not, sometimes the animal doesn't even need a new home. On more than one occasion we have had an animal surrendered to us only to find out later there is another owner for this animal. One particular situation like this happened last week. A husband upset with his estranged wife surrendered their dog. Luckily for both the wife and the dog, she found out and came to the shelter to reclaim him (the dog, not the husband) before he could be adopted by a new family. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a situation like this has occurred.
There are times when two people need to go their separate ways. These times are so emotionally charged, but it's important that we don't make our poor animals the inadvertent target of our anger or vindictiveness. For most animals who know both partners, living with just one of them is still often better than forcing the animal to readjust to a whole new home and way of life with new people. Sometimes swallowing the enmity for the sake of the innocent animal is the right thing to do, plain and simple.
Another situation that seems to happen quite often is that a well-meaning citizen brings in what they think is a stray cat, only to find out later that the cat belongs to a neighbor. While the neighbor can sometimes be very appreciative that someone cared enough about their kitty to make sure he was safe, they are also usually confused as to why the neighbor didn't ask around before bringing him in. It's a good question - for those of us who love animals and want to do right by them, a quick jaunt around the neighborhood can save a lot of stress for the poor animal who is having to be moved around so much.
All that being said, we will still accept any animal brought to us. We're here to serve our community by finding a home for those animals in need of one. If you or someone you know is in a situation where an animal needs a home, please give us a call at 445-2666. There are also several other organizations in our community that might be able to assist you and we will be glad to provide their contact information. Whatever decision you make, do your best to keep the best interests of your critter at heart. It helps them, and it helps us do our best to find them a great new life.
I want to close by thanking everyone who sent me e-mails and posted comments about last week's column. Your thoughts and prayers meant a lot to my family and me.
Duane Adams, executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society, can be reached at email@example.com or at the shelter at 445-2666.