Animal shelters are loving places that all take care of the animals that come through their doors, however, some are simply better equipped to do so than their counterparts. When I looked for a place to adopt my dog Lucky, I found that the shelter I had to use was one that met certain characteristics for myself.
Most shelters should abide by these characteristics, because Lucky was raised right, and if he ever needs a cat for a friend then I know what shelter I’ll go back to.
Spay and neuter
We’ve all heard the hosts of the Price is Right say “Get your pets spayed or neutered to help control the pet population.” It’s a good practice to follow as it not only controls the pet population and prevents more animals from being abandoned and filling the shelters, but also prevents the effects of being in heat.
Animals in heat can be more aggressive, mark their territory more frequently than normal, and can even attempt to sneak out of the house to find a mate, so by removing this scenario I found myself with a much calmer pet. All shelters should either have this as a requirement or as an option that is strongly recommended.
Ensure a home is a good fit
I actually had one of the agents bring Lucky to my home for a trial run while they spoke with me about how to make my home a good fit, when I could take Lucky for walks, and other ways that I would be incorporating a dog into my schedule.
Other agencies should do the same thing, either screening or inspecting your home to ensure the type, breed, and size of the animal you want to adopt is good for the home.
They should also educate you about what to do if the dog is lost, potential dangers in the environment, and any resources in the area in case the dog is trouble and needs to be trained.
The five freedoms
In shelters, every animal should have these five freedoms: Freedom from hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain and sickness, fear, and the freedom to express itself normally. By taking care of an animal’s physical needs as well as emotional needs, shelters can create a lasting environment that produces calm and happy animals.
This ensures that every animal has experience in a loving environment and will easily transition when given that love in its new home. The shelter treated Lucky well, so I could love him and be loved in return.
In addition the five freedoms act as guidelines that help every shelter determine if they are safe, secure, and aren’t overpopulated or overcrowded. If all five freedoms are met effectively, then everything is going well.
It doesn’t take much common sense to know what type of shelter the one you walk into is, and asking the right questions while also looking at the surroundings can provide some information about what type of animal you are bringing home, as well as which shelters might need some volunteer work from you.