I raised four boys who are now grown men. I couldn’t love them any more than I do, but I will be the first to say, that like all of us, they aren’t perfect and they had struggles, they tested my patience from time to time, and my goodness, were they messy! Four boys under one roof amounted to a lot of food, a lot of dirty towels on the floors, a lot of boy smells, and a lot of noise. But I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world.
When I decided to become a parent, I understood that it was up to me to teach my boys manners, help them learn right from wrong, and see them through all the hard times they would face. I knew that it wasn’t always going to be easy, that it was bound to be expensive, and that my kids weren’t always going to behave the way I wanted them to. But that was what I signed on for when I made the decision to be a mom.
Working in animal welfare for more than a decade has made me wish that people viewed animal adoption the same way, because like kids, pets are family members. And family members are not disposable. That means that when your new puppy is chewing your shoes or pulling on his leash, you work with them. Dogs and cats (especially young ones) need guidance and training. They need time to learn their manners, acclimate to their environment, and learn how to be well-behaved family members, and they need YOU to be their teacher!
I know you want them to be the pet of your dreams from day one, but please remember that they have suddenly found themselves in a brand-new environment with new people, new routines and new rules and they need some time to learn the ropes. It may take a little time but if you are patient with them and give them the tools they need to thrive, they will grow into happy, healthy, well-balanced pets. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. My human children are STILL learning!
My hope is to see less animals surrendered to animal shelters because of normal dog and cat behaviors. These behaviors might be the result of a lack of training or patience and often times, they are easily remedied. Additionally, there are lots of training options out there (Bideawee has been offering virtual dog training classes and we expect to transition to in-person training classes soon) and a little effort can go a long way.
And so, as a gentle (but not so subtle) reminder, if you are considering bringing home a new pet, please remember that this new family member needs your patience, your love, your understanding and your guidance to help them become the cherished pet that you both want them to be. There’s nothing they want more than to please you, but please remember that it’s your job to show them how.