Second Chance: Make it Furever

Second Chance: Make it Furever

My name is Bo. I am a homeless cat here at Second Chance waiting to be adopted. Animal welfare folks like to refer to adoptive homes as forever homes, but I for one know there certainly is no guarantee of that, having come from a home I thought would be forever.


I have a few things to say on all this so please listen up.

The Second Chance staff does a fabulous job during the “adoption interview,’ trying their best to properly match us to the right family. For instance, they let adopters know that if they are planning to be  gone from home for long stretches of time and then like to come home and plop on the couch a young Lab puppy may be a bad idea; an elderly cat would be a better fit.

Despite those attempts, I see pets who thought they were going into the “happily ever after” return to the shelter dejected and defeated. Sometimes it is soon after the adoption; other times it is months or even years later. (Fortunately Second Chance does have a policy that if for any reason an adopter is no longer able to care for their pet, they are to be returned so that another home can be secured.)

Reasons for returns vary from pet behavioral issues to changes in circumstances in the lives of the adopters, but often they result from an adopter’s expectations being set too high. If you think “being relinquished” does not emotionally impact us, well, you are wrong.

How do you prevent a failed adoption? Most important is to recognize that there will always be an adjustment period – for pet and family – and that the time will vary depending upon the pet’s history and the household environment. Allowing adoptees time to adapt to new environments, routines, family members etc. is critical to this “honeymoon” phase.

With that in mind, my staff here offers supportive services to pet parents whether they have adopted from Second Chance or not. If you have concerns or issues with your pets and you are unsure how to manage them or you are beginning to think that you are losing patience with and considering relinquishing your pet – please call – the sooner the better.

Staff can assist you using general behavioral techniques or referrals to additional resources such as Second Chance’s behavioral training courses. I urge you not to ignore issues of concern until the point when it is no longer feasible to address them. Prevention does work if applied in a timely manner.

Pets are family members. Typically if someone in your family is acting out it is often in response to something that can be corrected. Avoidance only escalates the situation. Making a lifetime commitment means working with your new pet through unexpected challenges. Of course there are always circumstances beyond our control. They will be addressed in next week’s Pet Column.

More about me you ask? Well I am a seven-year-young feline with absolutely elegant fur. I love to be loved, so would be my best self as the only cat in the home. I am the largest cat in the shelter and thus the only cat you’ll need. I am a good conversationalist and very social dude. Consider me to brighten your holidays!

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