Guest Blogger, Kelly Connolly (Attorney)
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Perhaps the Beatles said it best when they sang, “All You Need Is Love.”
Love is the defining element of any friendship. It is the strongest emotion capable of either bolstering or breaking a bond. Love can also be hard-requiring patience, understanding and time for both individuals to develop lasting relationships.
By adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue group, people can truly develop a simple and unbreakable bond with a companion animal. Adoption offers a pet another chance at a happy and healthy life-and sometimes the owner as well.
This was the case with a couple who adopted a dog from Marshall County Animal Shelter in Moundsville, W.V.
Barb Scanlon, a staff member at the shelter, recalls the time she worked with a retired couple looking for a new companion animal. Scanlon remembers that this woman’s husband was restricted to a wheelchair, and the couple was looking for a small dog to keep him company.
The woman, Joyce, came in alone one day to visit the dogs. As Joyce walked through the shelter, Scanlon could tell that she was a little hesitant. When Joyce noticed a rather unattractive dachshund in a cage, Scanlon wasn’t sure at first that there would be an adoption match. But after letting Joyce hold the dog and experience the canine’s sweet disposition, Joyce fell in love with little Nattie and adopted her in spite of her looks.
“If I had sent a list of characteristics for the perfect dog along with Joyce, you couldn’t have filled it any better,” said Joyce’s husband in a call to Scanlon a fewdays later. Joyce’s husband had fallen in love with Nattie’s inner beauty, too.
We Can Work It Out
In order for a bond to successfully develop between a human and pet, sometimes minor details have to be worked out, whether they are behavioral, social, or medical. Consider the story of Caleb.
Originally a stray cat, Caleb was found outdoors the night before a big storm. He was filthy and dangerously malnourished. Caleb was rescued just in time by the Bloomington Animal Shelter in Bloomington, Ind., whose staff cleaned and fed him. When Amanda Cooks, a potential adopter, came along, she couldn’t resist the scrawny tabby. She knew that Caleb would require special care at first because of his extreme malnourishment, but that didn’t stop her from taking him home.
Cooks said that at the beginning, Caleb “was desperate for attention and would eat until he was sick.” But after more than a year of steady care and attention, Caleb is now one of the family and a completely “He no longer has to eat and eat,” Cooks said. “My husband and I agree that Caleb is the nicest and most grateful cat that we have ever met.”
Sometimes a little extra attention might be necessary for your pet. Sometimes it’s a matter of having a little more patience, and the human caregiver needs to be trained a little bit as well. In the end it’s well worth it, as Cooks and Caleb found out together.
Can’t Buy Me Love
It’s estimated that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter U.S. shelters each year. There are only an estimated 3500 shelters in the country-plus an unknown number of smaller, local and home-based rescue organizations-so there are simply not enough resources for homeless animals to be rescued.
The good news is that love is up for adoption at your local shelter and rescue organization. By choosing to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue organization, and not purchasing one, you can help to reduce the number of homeless pets. Spaying and neutering your pets can also help free up much-needed room at shelters and rescue organizations to house and offer other homeless animals new lives.
Love Me Do
The relationship between a human and their pet can be a wonderful bond. Pets offer unconditional love to their human caregiver, and in return ask for nothing-it’s up to the caregiver to feed, shelter, administer aid, and, most importantly, return the pet’s love.
Based on how much companion animals do to help us in our own stressful, frantic, and often disconnected lives, it’s easy to see that pets deserve all the happiness and comforts that we as humans can provide. The best way to do that is to start by visiting your local shelter and adopting a furry friend.