You may be surprised by this, but giving a pet as a gift is not a terrible thing. We can say that our shelter animals would love nothing more than a home for the holidays.
According to our friends at the ASPCA, there’s no significant relationship between the love or attachment the pet parents had for their animals and receiving a dog or cat as a gift, whether they received the pet as a present or not.
Very importantly the ASPCA discovered that pets given as gifts were not more likely to be returned or surrendered!
Involvement in the decision did not impact love or attachment, said the ASPCA: “In fact, a higher percentage of those who were surprised reported that how the pet was obtained increased their love and attachment!”
The ASPCA study is not the first to challenge the conventional wisdom that pets given as gifts were more likely to be returned or surrendered. Dr. Gary Patronek, now a research consultant for the ARL’s Center for Shelter dogs and our former vice president of animal welfare, and colleagues Doctors Glickman, Beck, McCabe and Ecker, examined risk factors for dog relinquishment at one shelter and concluded that dogs received as a gift were at significantly decreased risk of being relinquished, compared to dogs who were purchased or adopted.
Dr. Jan Scarlett et al found that “unwanted gift” was rarely a reason for relinquishment of dogs and cats to the shelters surveyed.
Now that you’ve taken all of this to heart and decided to give your loved one a pet for the holidays, please keep the following things in mind.
1. Testthe waters. Before you give someone a pet as a gift, make sure to establish they are open to bringing an animal into their lives. Maybe they’ve hinted at the fact that they’ve been thinking about getting a pet. Maybe you’ve hinted at the idea and they seemed enthusiastic. Both are good signs.
2. Confirm any allergies in the household or residency restrictions. If your intended recipient has expressed an interest in adopting an animal, the next step is to confirm he or she can have a pet. If anyone has an allergy to cats in the household, for example, a kitten or adult cat is probably not a good idea.
3. Match to lifestyle. If the recipient you have in mind leads a busy lifestyle or has physical limitations, make sure to ask about an animal’s exercise requirements and personality. Grandma’s been lonely ever since Grandpa has passed and she’s hinted at wanting a pet. She has arthritis and trouble walking for extensive periods of time. A wiggly Lab puppy is not the best fit for her. Perhaps she’d do better with an older and small adult lapdog.
Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations, summed up our thoughts pretty well. “We feel that our shelter visitors who come in looking for a pet to give as a gift to a friend or family usually know their loved ones and what they are looking for.”
Maryann went on to say “we believe that most individuals are not going to get a pet for a friend or family member without the knowledge that their loved one wants a pet. We have had successful adoption experiences with this process.”
We’re “not suggesting that you bring the gift of a new kitten to the host of the next dinner party… but instead allow your husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners and parents to bring love, joy and…yes…a pet home for the holidays.”
Looking to Give Back After All of That Holiday Shopping?
Then please try Giving Tuesday on for size! Tomorrow is the biggest giving day of the year! Join the world in celebrating Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving by donating to the ARL’s Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund which provides financial assistance to families with limited economic means so they don’t have to make the agonizing choice between everyday necessities and caring for their pet at the time of an emergency.
By giving to the Alice T. Whitney Fund, you are helping a family just like yours keep their beloved pet alive. We can’t think of a more rewarding way to give during the holiday season!
On December 3, 2013 please donate to the ARL’s Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund.
They named me Heinz 57 ’cause I was the 57th cat at the Feral Cat Clinic.
It happens all too often with pets sometimes—one minute we’re curled up—all happy and warm—in our family’s house, but out on street and homeless the next. And that’s what happened to me.
I’m a social guy and managed to make some acquaintances with a few feral cats in Boston, but let’s face it, life for a homeless animal is still pretty rough even when you have friends. There’s not enough to eat or drink; you never know what the weather is going to throw at you; and the streets can be a rough place for a house cat like me.
Just when I had given up all hope, I walked into a humane trap that had been set up by ARL volunteers as part of its Fix-a-Feral clinic, a humane approach to managing the size and health of urban feral colonies.
Luckily for me, the ARL’s Fix-a-Feral program assesses every cat that comes in to find the “friendlies,” cats like me who have adoption potential. Talk about dedication—I came in with over 60 other cats that day and they spent time with each of us!
While I can’t say the same for everyone in my group, I turned on the charm and moved into the adoption center that same day. A warm clean bed, good meals and a lot of love and attention…now this was the life! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I went to stay at the Brewster adoption center in a group housing area just for cats where I had plenty of room to explore and make friends.
Best news yet, I quickly found a home where they totally love me. That’s me up there with my mom!
My mom’s name is Elizabeth. The day she went to go submit her application to become a volunteer at the Brewster shelter, is the day she adopted me. It was fate! Now a live with two other cats (who are pretty cool) and my mom and dad. They’re the best. They feed me SO well and I’ve discovered that I have a love for lasagna… it’s basically my favorite food!
On Giving Tuesday Give to Families and Pets Who Desperately Need It
Since 2008 the ARL’s Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund has helped over 366 families and their pets in dire situations. Without this Fund many of these animals would not have received the care they needed because their families were consistently turned down by other veterinarians for not being able to afford emergency veterinary costs, many of which involved complicated surgeries that can cost over $5,000. Most people don’t just have that kind of money just lying around, but thankfully the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund helps families with financial need when their pets desperately need help.
By giving to the Alice T. Whitney Fund, you are helping a family just like yours keep their beloved pet alive. We can’t think of a more rewarding way to give during the holiday season.
We’re thinking of families like the Belding’s, whose kitten suffered a broken leg after their toddler tripped over him. For this very low-income family, Trigger’s successful treatment – plus vaccination, neutering, medications and the loan of a crate – meant the world.
It is simply heartbreaking to think of a pet parent having to choose between paying the rent or eating and relieving a beloved pet’s suffering.
On December 3, 2013 please donate to the ARL’s Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund.
Morisot & Manet: Beautiful Cats. Artists at Heart?
Manet (Photo: Amelia Hughes)
Morisot and Manet are sister and brother and have been together their whole lives. They first came to the ARL as kittens with several other litter mates and were named by their foster mom after the French Impressionist painters, Berthe Morisot and Edourd Manet. You can see a photo of them from when they were kittens below. Weren’t they just so cute?!
Once they were old enough, they were brought to the shelter and adopted by a wonderful family. That family ended up moving to New York, but during their most recent move they were unfortunately unable to bring Morisot and Manet with them, so they drove all the way up from New York to bring them here, because they knew the ARL would find them a loving home once more.
Morisot and Manet deserve a forever home that will love them both! Thanks to a generous donor, we are waiving one of their adoption fees and making it easier for you to welcome them both into your life.
These four-year-old cats make an exquisite pair. Most of all, they love to spend time with one another, but they also enjoy getting attention from their human friends, looking out the window, playing with toys, especially laser pointers- see the video at the bottom of this post!
Morisot and Manet are getting an extra dose of TLC by staying in one of our feline suites. They hope you’ll stop by to say hi!
Please consider giving a home to these sweet and very loving cats. Learn more about Morisot and Manet by visiting our Boston Shelter or calling (617) 426-9170.
Morisot (L) & Manet (R) as kittens. (Photo: Amelia Hughes)
How We Give A Voice to the Victims of Animal Cruelty
Ollie, one of the original Middleboro Puppies who has already been adopted! (Photo: Amelia Hughes)
The public and media attention to the recent cases of Puppy Doe, Kitty, and the Middleboro puppies has shined a light on the issue of animal cruelty, and many are calling for tougher laws.
We wholeheartedly endorse legislation that helps to protect animals in Massachusetts to the level that they deserve. Heightened awareness of penalties not only helps reduce the number of tragic cases of animal suffering, but also moves us closer to a more just and humane society where both people and animals are valued.
The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys released a strong statement of principles regarding the prosecution of animal cruelty crimes which we applaud.
Now some of our readers might be thinking, that’s all well and good, but what exactly does the ARL do about it?
First, we can tell you that we meet with elected officials and legislators at the local and state level to help them understand and craft animal welfare policies and laws. Members of our staff attend and testify at public hearings as different legislative committees and state agencies review practices, policies, and laws.
We also actively collaborate with the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in pursuit of legislation that advances animal welfare and protection.
To further influence positive change for animals in our state, we also work with organizations and agencies such as Massachusetts Animal Coalition, the Department of Agriculture, and the Animal Control Officers of Massachusetts on a variety of animal welfare issues.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore
By way of specifics on our legislative and policy work…..
The ARL’s Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore serves as the chair elect of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee. This committee makes policy recommendations for issues related to animals on a national level and influences national animal welfare law and practices by working closely with federal agencies such as the USDA, APHIS, and others.
We have prepared a friend of the court brief in conjunction with Animal Legal Defense Fund for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court Massachusetts, in support of granting police the ability to enter a property without a search warrant if they believe any animals are in immediate danger. A hearing will be held at the SJC on December 3rd.
The ARL also participated in the development and passage of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Act (HAPCA), the tax check off that will help to provide training to Animal Control Officers in Massachusetts to advance the level of humane care of animals. The HAPCA also supports the spaying and neutering of homeless animals and animals owned people of limited economic means in the state.
On Giving Tuesday Help Families and Their Pets When They Need it Most
Imagine the heartbreak of being unable to afford veterinary care when your cherished pet is hurting. It is a scenario that we all hope never to face, but sadly it is the unfortunate reality for some pet owners who are struggling to make ends meet.
The Phillips family was faced with this exact situation when their beloved 8-month-old black lab mix Riley suddenly became very ill back in February 2012. The family watched helplessly as he went from a playful and rambunctious puppy to a sickly pup that refused to eat or drink.
After calling numerous clinics in the area in hopes of finding someone who could help and being declined due to financial constraints, they started to fear that their only option to stop Riley’s suffering was to put him down. Thankfully, they called Boston Veterinary Care at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where they were finally able to get the assistance Riley so desperately needed by utilizing the ARL’s Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund.
The Fund aims to help owners that are suffering from financial hardship by providing the emergency care their animals need at little to no cost.
We hope you’ll make a gift to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund on December 3 for Giving Tuesday, so that animals like Riley and owners like the Phillips family can have a second chance together.
Riley was immediately given a thorough examination by the dedicated team at Boston Veterinary Care and it was determined that he had an obstruction in his intestines. Although the family was not entirely sure, they suspected that Riley had gotten a hold of a styrofoam takeout container right before he became ill.
Unfortunately, Riley’s condition had become so severe that in order to save his life, BVC’s veterinarians had to perform emergency exploratory surgery. Once inside, they discovered that Riley did in fact have an obstruction that was causing him extreme pain and required the removal of a portion of his intestines. This complex surgical procedure cost $1,700, which was more than the Phillips family could afford to pay, but thankfully the League’s Alice T. Whitney Fund covered the entire cost of the procedure and saved Riley’s life.
When Riley and his family were finally reunited after his surgery, Riley’s tail wagged furiously and he showered them with kisses. Soon thereafter he was back to being the rambunctious puppy the Phillips family knew and loved.
Please consider giving to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund. You can help families like the Phillips when they need it most.
Check out our blog next Tuesday for another story about a family and their pet, whose life was saved thanks to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund.
The November Spay Waggin’ Schedule is Already Full
We’re just about halfway finished with November and the Spay Waggin’ is already fully booked for the month. The Spay Waggin’ is a subsidized spay/neuter program created by the ARL to assist clients in financial need. If you live on the South Shore or Cape Cod and your pet needs to be spayed or neutered, book your appointment for December as soon as possible.
To make an appointment, please call 1-877-590-SPAY(7729) or book online (cats only). The Spay Waggin’ phone line is open Monday-Wednesday and Fridays, from 10-4. For all other inquiries, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.