I’m officially crazy. Prior to my recent adoption of dog number three, I was only a suspected lunatic — the owner of two dogs, one cat and a rabbit; and, oh yeah, mom of three small children. Now my adoption of a third dog has confirmed my status as the neighborhood nut.
I’m content with that title, however. As an advocate of virtuous consumerism in all forms, I’m a huge fan of “recycled pets,” as I refer to my gang of secondhand family members. Sadly, the world is full of unwanted animals. Sadder still, shelters are full to overflowing, thanks to the global economy nosedive. According to Betsy Saul, as recently reported on Huffington Post, the mortgage crisis has created a veritable epidemic of abandoned pets. A survey on Saul’s site, Petfinder.com, revealed that 84 percent of animal shelters and rescue groups are receiving more pets in need due to the overall economic downturn, foreclosures and/or job losses.
All three of my dogs are “rescues” — dogs that were listed on Petfinder because they were either seized by authorities (Polar, dog #1), left at a shelter to be euthanized (Kira, dog #2) or picked up by a rescue group (Avalanche, dog #3). Our cat is a hand-me-down from a friend who had to give him up and our rabbit was also adopted from our local humane society.
My “blended” family is a wonderful endorsement for rescued pets. Without exception, our pets are gentle, loving and delightful. They’ve come with some baggage, though. Polar often urinated spontaneously at any loud noise, likely the result of abuse; however he’s grown into a confident fellow (though he still cringes at loud voices). Kira, whom we refer to as our privileged rescue, is the least “damaged” of the bunch, having been picked up by a rescue group that routinely scoured the euthanizing shelters. She and her siblings spent the first eight weeks of their lives with their mother and were then fostered by loving families before finding their “forever” homes.
Avalanche, our baby (though at four months and 50 pounds, he’s a considerably large baby), found his way to a rescue group when his mother and two littermates were hit by a car. The rescue group managed to convince the owners, backyard breeders who’d bitten off more than they could chew, to surrender the other pups. We adopted him at about three months and he’s fit in wonderfully.
All were found on Petfinder, which my husband Dan — whom I’ve dubbed Dangelina for his compulsion to adopt every homeless dog he sees – scours with the dedication of an ice cream addict seeking out a Ben & Jerry’s.
Beware: even the most stalwart “window” shopper can hardly help but be swayed by the myriad dogs and other animals on the site. Gorgeous animals, some purebred, most not; some babies, many not; but all looking for a second (or third or fourth) chance at a safe, loving home.
Consider a “recycled” pet for your own. And, if you already have pets, please ensure they’re spayed or neutered. I simply don’t have room for any more…