Who Rescued Who?
You may have seen this bumper sticker on vehicles of pet owners. I think I truly understand the meaning after adopting recently from Suncoast Humane Society. I have always been a “two-dog” person and after losing a beloved dog to old age, I started visiting animal shelter websites to find a new companion for my golden retriever and myself. While you can never replace the love and uniqueness of a deceased pet, I view adopting a new pet as the start of a new loving relationship.
Viewing the adoptable dogs and cats on an animal shelter’s website reveals the multitude of animals out there who are looking for their “furever” home. I have a deep appreciation for the organizations and volunteers who work to give these animals a second chance when their only other option might be running loose as a stray or facing an end- of-life scenario.
Perusing these photos of pets with a brief description is a like exploring a matchmaking site. Call me prejudiced, but there were certain characteristics I was looking for in my new companion so it took a while to find a likely prospect. Since I adopted from the Suncoast Humane Society, the rest of this article deals specifically with my experience there.
When an animal enters intake at SHS, they receive a physical evaluation to address any health issues, receive their vaccines, microchip, are spayed or neutered, and undergo a temperament evaluation conducted by the behavioral team to address potential issues. Staff and volunteers spend time with each animal to maintain or obtain sociability through walks, human contact, training and cuddling (in the case of cats, rabbits and other small mammals).
The dog I adopted was considered “under socialized,” meaning she had not been exposed to everyday situations while a puppy. She was afraid of new people and situations, had not been housebroken and did not know what a toy was for. The behavior team worked with her to give her confidence in herself so she could become adoption-ready.
At the SHS adoption center, I met “Noodles” and spent a little time with her. After learning about Noodles and her background, I filled out an adoption application. All members of the family are encouraged to meet the adoptee, so my golden retriever also met Noodles. Although Noodles was skittish, I decided she had the potential to become a cherished member of my family.
Dogs adopted at Suncoast Humane Society have all their current vaccinations, have been tested for heartworm, and receive their rabies vaccine and county license. If a health concern arises during the two weeks following adoption, you can bring them in for a vet check. You are also encouraged to relay how the adoption is working out as the staff genuinely care about each animal and want the match to work. If you have questions, you are encouraged to contact staff for direction.
Now a month out from adoption, Noodles is blooming. She enjoys romping with my other dog, plays with toys, enjoys walks and is a little lovebug. It is rewarding to see her enjoying a delayed puppyhood. She has been to the dog park and loves playing with the other dogs there. We have dog training classes ahead of us for both socialization and communication skills. I am working on some basic commands with her and Noodles is a quick learner. I think she knows she is loved and a member of a great pack.
Adopting a shelter pet has proved rewarding and I celebrate each milestone as Noodles becomes a happy, well-adjusted dog, learns the world is a fun safe place and manifests the love she was afraid to express in her prior environment. My life is richer and how lucky I am to have this treasure in my life! So, who rescued who?
In addition to Suncoast Humane Society, other rescue organizations in this area include Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS,) Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, Humane Society of Sarasota and St. Francis Animal Rescue of Venice. Visit their websites to see if there is a potential new family member waiting for you.