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Be a hero, rescue a pet!
Looking at rescuing a pet? Adopting a furry friend can be one of the most rewarding journey’s in a pet lover’s life. Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia caught up with Dr Rosalie Horton, Senior Behaviourist at the Animal Welfare League (AWL) to find out why adopting a companion animal is so special.
It’s no secret that there are countless pets around the globe looking for their forever home. Australia is no different. However, the reasons why people surrender their animals can vary from the cost of care, to divorce situations, sudden moves, death or simply being unable to cope.
“The biggest misconception is that they are all ‘damaged goods’ meaning they all have behaviour problems or are sick,” Dr Rosalie Horton, Senior Behaviourist at the Animal Welfare League says. “This is not the case at AWL. All our animals that are available for adoption, have passed their behaviour and health assessments. We also put a lot of work into rehabilitation via our qualified behavioural trainers to help any animals that come to us in need of our help.”
The AWL is a non-profit organisation that cares for many companion animals across Australia. The hardworking team at AWL work tirelessly to rehome a huge number of Australian pets who find themselves lost and in need of a good cuddle, a little understanding and a new ‘forever’ home.
“Having a pet in your life is an amazing experience and well worth the effort involved,” Dr Horton says. “At the AWL we see the proof that ‘you get out what you put in’. If you take the time to train your pet (using modern force-free methods), spend time with them and keep them happy, you will reap the benefits of sharing your life with an animal. The AWL has experts that can guide you through the process of adoption and throughout the life of your beloved pet.”
The Adoption Process
If you are considering adopting a precious pet, it’s important to understand that there is an in-depth process to ensure you and your new companion are perfectly suited.
“The process of adopting an animal is quite involved. We want to make sure that the relationship between pet and owner is lifelong,” Dr Horton says. “We make sure that people aren’t giving animals as gifts or making impulsive decisions. We have adoption counsellors that guide potential adopters to making the right choice for themselves, their family and their lifestyle.”
She is also quick to note that adopters should do their homework before they adopt a pet and plan ahead for the new family member. Remembering that it could be a 10 to 15 years of dedication. Understanding that if your plans change, will it include the pet? Being honest with yourself is vitally important.
“Adopters should consider the time they have available,” Dr Horton recommends. “Dogs and cats want to be part of the family; inside and participating in family activities. Times have changed, as have styles of pet ownership. Pets definitely don’t want to live by themselves outside anymore. Pets cost money too. Vet bills are unavoidable and can be expensive, so adopters need to factor this into the family budget. It is all worth it though!”
This thorough process can ensure that you and your new companion are going to share a wonderful life together. Giving a pet a second chance in a dream home can bring you endless joy and happiness.
“It’s special because the adopter is able to give the animal the loving home that it deserved,” Dr Horton says. “Some of our animals might never have experienced a loving owner and a safe home and the chance to give an animal that love is very special.”
We asked Dr. Horton how AWL prepares their resident cats and dogs for adoption.
CATS: Cats have specific needs when it comes to moving because they are very territorial and quite sensitive to change or stress. Like with our dogs, the cats undergo behaviour modification and we assess their temperament to determine which lifestyle they are most suited to. We like for adopters to plan ahead for bringing a new cat home. Most of the work is done in the new owners’ home to get a cat ready for adoption. We like for the adoption to go smoothly and the transition from shelter to the new home to be amazing for both the cat and the new family.
DOGS: When they first come in, all our animals are checked over by both a vet and a behaviourist and put on a plan for rehabilitation, if they require it. We also review every dog for the type of owner or home that they are most suited for. We then place the dog on a Behaviour Modification Program, which helps socialise them and teaches them to be an awesome dog, to help them get adopted. We also review potential adopters to see who they are most suited to, for example: Active owners with an active dog.