Tuesday, Sep. 30th 2014

Free to Good Home, and October events

Following the list of events is a scathing editorial on the reasons people re-home their pets.  It is intended to be copied, pasted, linked, and shared widely in any venue you feel it is appropriate to educate pet owners and prospective pet owners.  Permission is granted to use it as an educational tool as long as the byline is kept intact in the title.

October events at the clinic:

October 4 beginning at 9 a.m. we have canine massage appointments with Julie Bergstrom.  Call 816-331-1868 ASAP if you want an appointment

October 9, Thursday evening at 7 p.m. we are offering another free seminar in our multi-purpose room.  This one is about Acupuncture—the history, theory, and practice and includes a live demonstration treatment.  Bring friends!

October 10 we again have canine massage appointments beginning at 10 a.m. with Michelle Sickles.  You must have an appointment.  Call 816-331-1868 if you’d like to schedule.



Editorial: I know my clients don’t need this lecture, but feel free to share it anyplace you feel it’s appropriate.  You can always find my newsletters on my webpage at www.wholehealthpetcenter.com and can share from there as well.  I even give you permission to cut and paste as long as you include my byline.  I also have a LinkedIn profile


Free to Good Home, by Sandi Leonard, DVM     Whole Health Pet Center

How often have you seen an ad in the paper, on Facebook, or just a poster on a telephone pole with those words?  Usually there is a picture of a dog or cat, maybe a rabbit, fish, or lizard.  Some tear-jerking story about how the current owners are moving, the landlord won’t allow pets, they don’t have time for the pet, they just had a baby….yeah, you know the ones. 

They usually go on to include some sort of health history.  It’s usually something like this:  “Had a set of puppy shots, not fixed yet, mostly house-broken”.  To a vet, this translates as “The people we got it from had one set of shots done and we haven’t done squat to take care of it or train it ever since”.  You can bet this also means it has not been on heartworm preventive, is on the cheapest diet possible, and probably has numerous bad habits or fears due to lack of proper training and socialization.

So let’s address these reasons for re-homing a pet, shall we?

“We’re moving and the new place doesn’t accept pets”.  Who does that?  My pets go on vacation, they visit family, they stay in hotels.  They are members of our family.  We would never even look at a new place to live if they wouldn’t allow our furry children to live there with us.  People moving someplace that doesn’t allow pets didn’t want the pets to go in the first place or they would have tried harder.

“We just don’t have time for the pet anymore”.  I had pets before I had children.  As my children grew, and got involved in sports, school activities, church, Scouts and more I continued to run a business and still have pets.  Everyone in the family helped take care of them.  Taking my dogs to training classes and competitions was part of my life and still is.  They are sitting in my office with me right now.  Many of my clients take their dogs to day-care so they can have fun while their owners are at work, or have someone come in during the day to care for them.  You make time for the things in your life that are important.

“We just had a baby”.  See above.  I had two kids, who have grown up around my dogs, cats, horses, goats, geese, chickens…For centuries, people have managed to take care of animals while raising children.  If your pet is not comfortable around children, that’s on you as the pet owner.  There is this amazing activity called “training”.  If you get a pet and intend at some point to have children during that pet’s lifetime, you should get it used to children when it is young, even if they aren’t yours.  If you have a pet, unless you are seriously concerned it wants to eat children for dinner, you should TRAIN it to behave around children, or learn to manage the situation.  If it really does want to eat children, is it really ethical to re-home such a dangerous animal?  And quite honestly, in many cases your kids are more of a danger to the pet than the other way around.  Maybe you should re-home the kids.

“We just can’t afford it anymore”.  OK, I will accept that circumstances change and finances sometimes take a hit.  But as a vet, I am well aware that there are options to help, from monthly wellness plans at many clinics, to Care Credit, to pet insurance, to community programs for spay/neuter assistance.  I think too often, this is similar to the “moving” issue.  In some cases, this is just another way of saying “We have other priorities than taking proper care of this furry living being in our home”.  I have seen clients over the years willing to make significant sacrifices to help a pet get the care it needs.  It’s a matter of choosing what is important to you.

I think what all this boils down to is that too few pet owners recognize that their pets have feelings, too.  They see them as property, more like a broken TV than something more akin to a child in the home.  And yes, I am well aware there are people who see children this way as well, and that is equally heartbreaking.  I want to get the message out that pets grow attached to their families.  Their mental health can be affected, badly, by being moved from home to home, or in and out of shelters.  They know when they aren’t wanted, and it hurts them. 

My final message to these people re-homing pets because, basically, they can’t be bothered to love them, is this:  Please do find a new home for your pet.  And please don’t ever get another one.



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Whole Health Pet Center
18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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