Keep Families Together
Why do animals end up in shelters? The number one reason that both cats and dogs end up in shelters is a move by the family. Other reasons include behavioral problems, allergies, veterinary costs, new babies added to the family, death or illness of the guardian, and many other factors. If we can help to keep animals from being relinquished to shelters, we can greatly reduce the euthanasia rate of companion animals. Here are some resources to get started.
The Pet Project has put together a great resource for pet-friendly rental properties in Minnesota, as well as sample "pet resumes" so you can show your prospective landlord that you're a responsible pet owner! Check it out here. Is expensive homeowners' or renters' insurance making you feel like you can't afford to keep your pet? This can be especially challenging for Pibble parents, and parents of other so-called "aggressive" breeds. Save-A-Bull offers suggestions for finding bully-breed friendly insurance. Check them out here. What about foreclosures? A tragic consequence of a bad economy are the countless animals that are left behind in foreclosed-upon homes. Foster my Pet helps pet owners in distress by placing their companion animals in a temporary foster home for a limited period of time. Check them out here.
Cats that don't use the litterbox, dogs that never got past the puppy chewing phase, the house-training challenged, and the sometimes aggressive---all of these behavioral challenges can be sufficiently daunting for pet owners that they may consider throwing up their hands and bringing their pets to a shelter. Before you give up on your pet, let's make sure that every avenue toward helping get you the help you need to solve behavioral problems. Please contact us to discuss your pet's behavioral issues. We are not trainers, but can refer you to a trainer in the area. In addition to pointing you in a direction, we hope to have a limited number of training scholarships for pet owners that can demonstrate a financial and behavioral need.
Low-Cost Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care
Minnesota has a wealth of resources to prevent pet overpopulation through low-cost spay/neuter. Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program (MSNAP) is fully equipped veterinary clinic on wheels delivers low-cost, high-quality spay and neuter surgeries for animals belonging to shelters, rescues and low-income pet owners in Minnesota. Check it out here. The Minnesota Spay Neuter Project offers low or no-cost spay/neuter to people who receive public financial assistance. Check it out here. Kindest Cut also offer low cost spay/neuter for those in need. Check it out here. But what about low cost veterinary care other than spay/neuter services? The Animal Humane Society has put together a list of low cost veterinary care providers, check it out here.
Planning for Your Pet in the Event of Your Illness or Death
No one wants to think about becoming seriously ill or disabled, or even dying, but just as responsible parents make sure that their kids are taken care of in the event of a tragedy, so too should pet parents. Too often we see pets who were once loved end up in shelters or even euthanized simply because their owners failed to plan for a future in which their pets might outlive them. Unfortunately, Minnesota is one of only 4 states that has not enacted a pet trust law to explicitly address this issue! However, don't despair--you can--and should make plans for your pets--either through a living trust (you must appoint a caretaker), your will (less secure than a living trust), or through a humane society, sanctuary or shelter. Home for Life and Animal Ark are two examples of organizations that offer such services. For a full explanation, check out this resource from the ASPCA.
Getting Your Pet Ready for Baby
For many people, a dog or a cat is the first baby in the home--but too often those same people feel that having a human baby means that it's time to drive that pet to the shelter. Yet there are many things you can do to help your pet get ready for having a new baby in the home, and make the transition easier for everyone! Some trainers, such as the Canine Coach, even offer special classes to help pet parents get their dogs ready for a new baby. The ASPCA offers tips for getting cats ready for the arrival of a new baby--check them out here. Your pet is a baby too--and by adopting or buying your pet, you made a lifetime commitment to this fur-baby too!
Achoo! Here Come the Pet Allergies
One of the top reasons given by people relinquishing their pets to shelters, especially cats, is allergies. Guess what? There is no such thing as a "hypoallergenic pet"! Allergy suffers can be allergic to a pet's dander, skin, saliva, skin flakes, and/or urine. Additionally, a pet's fur can contain mold or pollen spores that may trigger an allergic reaction. However, you don't necessarily have to forgo pets just because you have allergies--you may just need a good allergist! Check out this information from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and talk to your doctor to learn how you can live with your pet and keep your allergies under control!