Cort Dennison works as a football coach, mentor, and animal advocate, who volunteers at local shelters in his spare time. In the following article, Cort Dennison discusses what to expect when adopting a pet from a shelter, and why it is more important than ever.
Imagine seeing the most adorable dog ever – one with a huge set of puppy eyes that wags its tail non-stop. Surely, anyone would want this pup as their pet.
But imagine learning that this cute dog was once repeatedly kicked and starved by its former owners – and eventually left for dead on the side of the road.
Cort Dennison says that sadly, these are the lives of millions of animals.
So, how can people make their lives better? Simple: adopt them.
But does adoption solve the pet homelessness problem? Moreover, is pet homelessness the last problem that animals and owners can face?
Cort Dennison dives into the topics of the tragic life of pets in animal shelters and some issues that adoptive pet parents face.
Cort Dennison Says that Millions of Animals End Up in Shelters
All pets deserve a loving home. However, not all of them end up in one. Instead, they end up in shelters.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.” ASPCA added that 3.1 million of the animals are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
There are many reasons why animals are surrendered to animal shelters.
Cort Dennison notes that some of the reasons can be due to:
- The owners’ financial or physical inability to take care of the pet.
- The owners’ relocation to a place that doesn’t allow pets.
- The addition of a family member – a child or visitor who dislikes animals.
- The animal not getting along with other pets.
- The pet was rescued from abusive owners.
- A rescuer’s discovery of the pet’s abandonment.
Being abandoned by the people these pets trusted and loved is heartbreaking already. But they can also deal with traumatic situations in the shelters – barking and hissing sounds, other animals whimpering, and unfamiliar people talking.
If that wasn’t stressful enough, some animals also face another problem – euthanasia.
Cort Dennison also notes that some shelters can get too crowded. Therefore, the facility can no longer house the animals. And if the animals don’t get adopted soon, or if more animals keep arriving in the shelter, facilities euthanize the pets.
Instead of being given the opportunity to make a family happy, the animals end up killed. Therefore, those who can adopt a pet should adopt one.
But will pets and owners live “happily ever after” once the animals are adopted?
Well, most of the time, they do – but not without problems.
Issues Adoptive Pet Parents Face
Due to the pet’s past, their reaction to a new environment can vary.
Here are some problems adoptive pet parents (and pets) can face:
Some newly adopted pets appear too meek to explore their surroundings, interact with humans, or socialize with other animals. Most of the time, the animal is just getting used to the new environment or familiarizing themselves with the people and other pets.
Other times, however, are due to past trauma – these animals may have a history of abuse or neglect. And what pet owners may consider to be shyness can actually be fear.
If a pet is too shy or scared to socialize and play, the simplest solution is to give the animal time to get used to its new home – and get to know its new family; the duration it will take varies per pet.
But what happens when the pet reacts the opposite way?
Some pets will stand their ground and will ensure everyone that they’re the boss. But oftentimes, pet aggression happens due to fear – it can be a defense mechanism due to threats or previous trauma.
Cort Dennison football coach says that aggressive pets also need time to adjust to their surroundings. If they don’t improve, consult a veterinarian in case of illness or pain. If the new pet is aggressive towards other animals, consider separating them temporarily.
With all the timidity and hostility, this can make pet owners wonder if their pets can ever be affectionate. Because they sure can – albeit, at times, excessively.
Having a clingy pet is a nice problem to have.
Cort Dennison football coach says that if it gets in the way of someone’s daily routine, the pet owner must address the pet’s reason for clinginess. Pet owners must also understand that pets are domesticated and have evolved to rely on human affection – they need human love.
However, if the pet seems to ask for too much affection, it can also be due to the lack of attention given to them – from previous owners or the animal shelter.
Once the pet is given attention and assured of a forever home, they can feel at ease that they’ll receive the love that they’ve been yearning for.
Cort Dennison football coach says that al pets deserve all the love they can get – and people also deserve to be loved by one (or more). Sadly, some animals don’t have the opportunity to make a family happy, as they’re stuck in animal shelters.
But those who adopted pets from animal shelters can attest to how rewarding their decision was – as they rescued a life that ended up dear to them.