Second Chance: Lonely & Bored Pet?

Second Chance: Lonely & Bored Pet?

My name is Nymph. I am a homeless feline here at Second Chance. A recent article I read in the New York Times has me slightly concerned about what my new family will be like. The article explored the current “pet population boom” and how it could be leading to an increase in bored and lonely pets. Pet parents or prospective pet parents – I urge you to read on.



The article, published on the May 7 begins by stating, “America is experiencing a population boom — of pets. Driven by rising disposable income and urbanization and by evolving attitudes toward animals, the number of pets has grown more rapidly since the mid-1970s than the human population, to the point where there are now about as many pets as there are people.”

The author, Jessica Pierce, continues on exploring a topic that appears in the Second Chance Pet Column regularly – the human-animal bond. But then she zaps the reader with some serious considerations, that as humanity evolves further toward recognizing the power of the human-animal bond and desiring animals in our lives and homes, the results aren’t always as good for the animals as one would think…

Pierce then paints the unhappy reality that humans may, in their desire to experience (or allow their children to experience, have pets as family members, be inadvertently generating animal suffering. She refers to unfolding scientific studies “peeling back the mysteries of animal minds, revealing an incredible and often surprising richness in the thoughts and feelings of other creatures.”

These creatures with thoughts and feelings include a variety of “pets” such as goldfish and hermit crabs that are actually quite social creatures and suffer greatly in the “controlled deprivation” of aquariums or environments that don’t meet their behavioral needs. (One example is the sleek and trendy nano-tank that reduces a fish’s world down  to six cups of water.)

Those who restrict their personal pets to species like cats and dogs, who are most adapted to living with humans, may not be in the clear either.

Pierce challenges pet parents on the quality of time they spend with their pet and getting them exposure to outdoor environments that allow them to thrive: “In addition to love, a dog or cat owner also has to have time, space, energy, patience, money and a strong sense of commitment to being there for and with their animal.”

Pierce offers the perspective that, while acknowledging people for their desire to fully experience the human-animal bond, encourages them to take a “look beyond the sentimental and carefully scrutinize our practices. Animals are not toys — they are living, breathing, feeling creatures. Perhaps we can try to step into their paws or claws and see what being a pet means from their perspective. We might not always like what we see.”

As a homeless cat I certainly am not wanting to discourage anyone from adopting a pet, or criticize pet parents who do the best for their pets, but I think this article is important for generating awareness particularly for animals that are not well adapted to be pets.


Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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