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For tips on moving your pets, please see the link below for information courtesy of Canada Post.
2005 Moving campaign
What to do with your companion animal if you can no longer keep him or her.
Spring is officially here, with all the promise of warmth and greenery and blooms in the garden. This also means to me that moving season is soon to be upon us. With that said, and if you are moving, have you thought about your companion animal….
Did you know that several hundred of thousands of companion animals are abandoned each year in the province of Quebec? I did not make a mistake, I reiterate, several hundreds of thousands!!! Shocking isn’t it! And one of the biggest periods of abandonment sadly occurs during the moving season. Why does this happen? I cannot answer this question, I can only speculate. I personally think it is a lack of foresight and responsibility. Did you know that about 45% of Quebec households will only keep a companion animal for about two years? And did you know that the life expectancy of the average indoor cat can be 20 years or more, and the average life expectance of a dog is between 10 and 15 years of age (depending on the breed). The decision in acquiring a pet should also take into consideration the life expectancy of the animal. If you want a pet with a shorter life expectancy; then consider a gerbil, a hamster, a mouse or a rat (2-3 years) or a guinea pig (4-8 years, with 5 years as an average) or a ferret (6-12 years). A dwarf rabbit can live 7-10 years. And some animals live longer in pairs such as the Chinchilla (10 years alone, up to 15 years as a pair). Now if you think a fish or a turtle is the answer consider the following: did you know a Goldfish in the proper environment can live up to or more than 35 years? And did you know that reptiles; apart from frogs and lizards who have a life expectancy of 5 years or more, can live for decades if properly taken care of !!!!*
Now with that said, and if you are moving, have you thought about your companion animal? If not, then think now. If you are keeping him or her, great!
If for some reason or another you cannot keep him or her, what are you going to do about it? Please understand that dropping your animal off at the local animal shelter should not be considered as your first option this should only be considered as a last measure. Did you know that animal shelters are overwhelmed with unwanted and abandoned pets during the moving season? Because during this period of time especially supply really exceeds demand, do realize that most of these animals will most likely be euthanized!!! Don’t think that your five year old tattooed pure blood Dalmatian will be easily adoptable, because guess what? Whether your animal is pure breed or up to date with his vaccinations or gets along great with children or has a beautiful personality or has any other wonderful qualities, this does not mean that he or she automatically gets a free ride to a new and loving home. Unfortunately in this province an animal is too often considered a disposable item and the value on its life is very little. If you care at all for your animal, and I hope that you do, and for whatever reason (and please rethink your reasons) if you can’t keep your animal, you have a responsibility in taking an active role in finding a new and good home for your pet.
Ok, so you have pondered on your decision to get rid of your pet and you have come to the final conclusion that you cannot keep your pet and this for a reasonable excuse such as: your landlord does not tolerate pets, your municipal by-laws do not tolerate your type of pet, your child or spouse has developed serious allergies, or another valid reason, so now what? Please note that help is at hand!
What I recommend is that you take an active role right now (not the week or the day before your moving date). You MUST let people know now that you are looking for a good home for your companion animal. Start with your family and friends and colleagues at work, the network of people that you know. If you don’t get any results contact your veterinarian and let him or her know that your pet is seeking a new home (be prepared to have a photo and written description of your pet). If still no results (and be prepared to broadcast the information about your pet) then start posting notices that you have a pet seeking a new good home. Don’t forget that your local stores (like grocery stores, often offer a free bulletin board for local ads), there are also some websites that offer free posting of animal ads, such as www.leuleu.qc.ca. If you still have not found a suitable new home for your pet, then consider advertising in your local paper. But whatever you do please don’t say that your animal is available free to a good home, instead indicate that you have an animal to place and describe the animal. Please if your pet has not been neutered or spayed, do not advertise this information, because your pet may then become prey to an unethical cat or dog breeder. Advertise the following: “Looking for a good home for a ......dog/cat of an approximate age of ….gets along well with other dogs/cats (if this is the case), gets along well with children (if this is the case), no known medical issues (if this is the case). If interested please contact….”.
If and when people contact you for your animal, it is then up to you to do the appropriate screening and decide if you desire to give or sell the animal. If you do find a good home please be generous. Make sure the new adopters get the animal along with some of its accessories such as (food, toys, basket, blanket, bowls, litter, litter box, and especially its medication if such is the case). I mention the accessories, because they carry the smell of the previous environment and having something familiar can help make the animals’ transition to the new home a little easier.
If you require further help finding a home for your dog or cat, there is a web site which repertories approximately 900 animal shelters throughout Canada: www.adoptananimal.ca it works on type of animal and postal codes. Please note that if your animal is of a specific breed there may be a specific rescue available for that breed, some of these breed specific rescues also handle mixes within the breed.
If you can’t find a suitable home for your pet, and whether or not you have tried to find a new family for your pet, whatever you choose to do please don’t abandon your pet by just dumping your animal in the country, or on the side of the highway, or leaving it in your vacant apartment, or letting it loose in the city hoping that some good Samaritan will find it and take care of it. Chances are this animal will have a short and miserable life and someone may be even be hurt because of this stray. Please do contact a shelter or a Pound and do bring in the animal.
And please remember that if you are keeping an animal companion, don’t forget to have him or her spayed or neutered. Sterilization is the best way to help to control the population of unwanted companion animals. Bonus: the spaying and/or neutering of your pet may also contribute to the continued good health of your furry companion.
On a last note, if during the moving season or at any other time, you have lost or found a companion animal, did you know that there are several web sites that will post your notice of a lost or found pet for free (albeit donations are usually welcome). Here are just a few:
Thank you for reading this message,
Toni Andrea Belschner
President of the SQDA
and companion to two “rescue” dogs
Laval, the 7th of April 2005
* source of animal life expectancy: http://www.mvhspets.org/
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