Well over a quarter of pet owners in the UK found their ‘best friends’ at an Animal Welfare or Rescue Centre. Unfortunately there will be no shortage of new arrivals this Christmas as thoughtless people buy pets as presents only to discard them when the novelty wears off.
Read on to see what you can do to help pets in need this Christmas!
What can I do to help?
Donations are of course always welcome. Rescue centres are often desperate for essential items as well, such as blankets, beds, toys etc. Ask your local sanctuary what they could do with most this winter. Another way to help if you live locally is to offer to do some dog walking as this time consuming activity is often just not possible in a busy rescue centre. A good walk and one-to-one attention from you will really make a dog’s day!
If you are an experienced owner, fostering is also a brilliant way to help a rescue centre which is full to the brim with animals. Looking after a dog or cat while they wait for the right new owner to come along will help free up another space in the rescue while also helping the pet become used to a domestic environment again, setting them up for a long and happy life in their new home.
Adopting a rescue animal is not for the fainthearted and involves an enormous amount of hard work! Many animals come with emotional baggage and you will need to put aside a huge amount of time and resources to help them settle in. Things like toilet training and obedience for dogs may have to be started from scratch.
Always go to a rescue centre with a good reputation for taking time to match the right pet to the right owner. It will save an awful lot of heartache in the long run, for you and the pet, if you take your time over the process at the very beginning.
If you are after a cat then make sure you consider the often overlooked black and white moggies! For some reason, cats this colour are not nearly as popular as more ‘exotic’ colourings, even if they have wonderful temperaments. Try to keep you mind open about the exact type and colour of pet you want as the right pet for you in terms of personality may be totally different to what you had imagined.
Labrador Retriever Rescue Southern England, a brilliant rescue organisation for Labradors in need, has these wise words on its website:
“Come to Rescue to give, to love, to save a life — and mend your own spirit. For Rescue will reward you in ways you never thought possible. We can promise you this — a rescue dog will make you a better person”.