Dog on the Move

Coming to the rescue: What to find out about adopting a pet | Bakersfield Life


On any given day in Kern County, greater than a thousand animals can be found for adoption. Whereas many are overfilling metropolis and county shelters, many extra are briefly housed by rescue organizations and volunteer fosterers.

“If we didn’t have nonprofit rescues pulling animals out of our shelters, hundreds of animals would meet premature fates,” mentioned Nick Cullen, director of Kern County Animal Providers.

Native rescue organizations alleviate the choked capability of the municipal shelters. For every animal within the care of a rescue, that’s one much less canine or cat euthanized.

To place the necessity into perspective, Nicole Gitzke with the Bakersfield Animal Care Middle mentioned that in a one-week interval in Might, 120 canines have been introduced into the shelter and 37 went out.

“Throughout that point, we had three adoptions, 9 have been returned to homeowners, and 25 went to rescues,” she mentioned.

Town shelter solely has 175 canine kennels. They attempt to accommodate canines by pairing up those who get alongside and dividing indoor-outdoor kennels to create two areas from one. However there’s solely a lot they will do.

“When a canine is available in, if we don’t have room for it, we have now to make arduous selections,” Gitzke mentioned.

These selections embody euthanizing animals to make manner for brand spanking new intakes.

The issue compounds when an area rescue reaches capability — they will’t save any extra animals except those of their care are adopted into everlasting properties. Whereas a couple of native rescues have boarding services, most depend on volunteer foster properties.

Adopting an animal received’t remedy the animal overpopulation drawback, however you may make a distinction for one.

So how do you go about discovering an animal to undertake? And what ought to you recognize earlier than beginning your adoption search?

Discover organizations to comply with

Along with town and county shelters, in addition to the SPCA shelter in Bakersfield, there are a pair dozen native rescue teams in Kern County. Most of them are animal-specific, comparable to canines, cats, horses, small animals and reptiles. Others are breed-specific, comparable to greyhounds and pit bull terriers.

Kristen Mullins of Look after Magical Creatures in Shafter focuses on reptiles and amphibians, in addition to a couple of small furry pets like hamsters and guinea pigs. There are normally two causes individuals give up their pets to her: They not have the time or capacity to take care of them, or they didn’t know easy methods to take care of the animal and it’s not wholesome anymore.

“It’s not my job to evaluate them. My job is to make the animals higher and ensure they’ve a greater life,” she mentioned.

Mullins lately nursed a chameleon named Waldo again to well being after it was burned alongside its again by a basking gentle positioned too near his favourite department. Waldo now has been adopted out with correct care steerage.

Sundee Oberlies Martineau with Bakersfield Boxers & Bullies Rescue discovered a particular fondness for pit bulls when her son introduced residence a pet about 10 years in the past. Now she leans on a community of volunteer fosterers to take care of canines in want of everlasting properties. Pit bull terriers are arduous to put as a result of there are simply so lots of them being bred they usually have an unfounded unhealthy status.

“Pit bulls have been constantly the No. 1 canine euthanized in shelters anyplace,” Martineau mentioned.

The longest resident below her rescue’s care is Carly, a 3-year-old pit bull terrier combine who has been with them for 2 years.

Native rescuers rely closely on social media to get the phrase out about animals obtainable for adoption. Search web sites and social media pages for native rescue teams, then begin swiping by pet profiles.

Be prepared for dedication

Relying on the kind and age of the animal you undertake, you possibly can face upwards of 15 to twenty years of pet parenthood — or extra.

“It isn’t a birthday current, Easter current, or Christmas current. It’s adopting a member of the family,” mentioned Sarah Tietjens of MEOW Co., a kitten and cat rescue in Bakersfield. “Don’t undertake for those who’re not keen to offer time, consideration and dedication.”

Previously generally known as Socks Rescue, MEOW Co. adopts out a whole lot of kittens and cats annually, principally by Petsmart on Ming Avenue. The bulk are available as stray litters discovered on individuals’s properties or deserted on veterinarians’ doorsteps. Volunteers vaccinate the kittens and nurse them to well being, after which fosterers elevate them for adoption. These kittens develop as much as reside 12 to 18 years or extra.

Canines can reside about 10 to 13 years, or longer for smaller breeds. Puppies are cute however they develop as much as be grownup canines who require lifelong consideration and companionship.

Gitzke with the Bakersfield Animal Care Middle says they see canine homeowners flat-out refuse to select up their canines once they name after scanning the canine’s microchip. Excuses embody: “I don’t really feel prefer it. I’m too busy. I’ve a job.” The middle has stopped taking proprietor surrenders as a result of they will hardly sustain with the strays coming in.

Folks trying to undertake a pet must be prepared for every kind of emergencies. What is going to you do if the animal digs? Chews on issues? Doesn’t get alongside nicely with different pets? Has accidents? Will get sick? Are you ready for vet payments? What if you need to transfer? Rescuers suggest potential adopters plan for all of those potential points.

Ensure you’re suitable

Some pets are excessive vitality, whereas others will sleep all day lengthy. Are you the kind of one who is lively and loves the outside? Or are you a homebody who likes to loosen up?

“The most important factor that most individuals neglect to consider is the suitable breed of animal for his or her life-style,” mentioned Chuck Nordstrom with the Bakersfield SPCA. “They all the time take a look at photos, or films or TV reveals and suppose, ‘Isn’t that the cutest canine? I’d wish to get a type of at some point.’ However a whole lot of occasions it’s not applicable as a result of then they’re coming again and saying, “Oh, I had no thought how a lot work they have been going to be.’”

For those who’re not the outdoorsy sort however nonetheless desire a companion, think about adopting a senior canine who’s content material mendacity at your ft. For those who work out of the home most days, take into consideration adopting a pet that doesn’t require as a lot consideration.

Problem your self to take a look at breeds or pets you may not have all the time dreamed about. Take lizards, for instance. For those who depart the home day by day for a full-time job, you would possibly think about a leopard gecko that’s solely lively throughout twilight and early morning as a substitute of a bearded dragon who’s lively in the course of the day and really likes to be entertained.

“Bearded dragons are one of many uncommon reptiles that want consideration. A beardie goes to be clawing on the cage to get out on your consideration,” mentioned Mullins of Look after Magical Creatures.

Different reptiles and amphibians are extra “take a look at me pets,” she says. Identical goes for rodents — massive Syrian hamsters are far friendlier with dealing with than dwarf hamsters, that are tremendous cute however usually defensive.

Analysis the pets’ wants

Pets have the identical fundamental wants as people: meals, water and shelter. However these gadgets range relying on the animals — they usually actually aren’t the one issues they want.

Some cat and canine rescues will ensure you have safe indoor areas so the animals received’t be left on their very own exterior, vulnerable to flee, warmth, chilly, or damage.

“The yard just isn’t a spot to maintain a member of the family,” mentioned Ana Deshponde, program supervisor for Fortunate’s Crew Animal Rescue, a Bakersfield nonprofit centered totally on canines. “It’s OK if they will go indoors and outside as they want — however when the household just isn’t residence, they should be saved safely secured indoors.”

Unique pets require greater than a easy enclosure. Earlier than handing over an animal, Mullins makes positive adopters have the proper tank measurement, lighting, temperature, humidity, flooring supplies, and gadgets for hiding, climbing and basking.

In relation to weight-reduction plan for unique pets, it’s not as straightforward as shopping for luggage of dry meals. Particular diets might embody fruits, greens, reside bugs or prey, and vitamin dietary supplements.

After which there are enrichment actions — toys for tugging and fetching, cat towers for scratching, chewable gadgets for busy mouths of every kind, and train wheels and sand baths for rodents. Maintaining pets from losing interest will cut back the probability of harm to your own home or damage to your animal.

Get your resume so as

Rescuers are on the lookout for good matches for his or her animals and assurance that they are going to succeed of their adoptive properties. For that reason, they’ll require you to undergo an software and vetting course of. This could get fairly detailed — are you a home-owner or a renter? If you’re a renter, do you’ve got proof that your landlord permits such a pet? For those who transfer, will you you should definitely discover one other rental that enables such a pet?

Rescues may also need to know who else is in your family — each people and different pets — and the way nicely they get together with animals. They usually’ll need to know for those who’ve efficiently cared for such a pet up to now.

“We do ask a couple of questions,” mentioned Martineau of Boxers and Bullies. “Like, what drives you loopy? What behaviors do you not like in a canine? Would you describe your self as a tidy individual or are you OK with messes? Have you ever ever potty educated a canine earlier than? Do you’re employed? What are your hours? How usually will the canine be residence alone? How will you take care of the canine while you’re not residence? While you go on trip, what’s your plan? We now have those who complain in regards to the questions but it surely’s known as being accountable.”

Along with an software, some rescues will ask for private references and conduct in-person interviews. If the potential adopter already has pets, the rescue might even name their veterinarian for vaccination information.

When you go the appliance course of, then it’s time to lastly begin assembly potential pets to undertake.

Put together for the meet & greet

All native shelters and animal rescues provide methods so that you can meet the animal and see if it is going to get together with different members of your family. You would possibly meet on-site, at a impartial location comparable to a park, or at a foster’s residence or your personal residence.

Nordstrom mentioned the Bakersfield SPCA requires potential adopters to convey their households and different canines to the play yard at their facility to fulfill a canine earlier than adopting it.

“We do the meet and greet on impartial territory. It’s not one hundred pc fool-proof as a result of it might change while you get to the individual’s residence and the canine says, ‘Now you’re in my yard.’ Nevertheless it offers you a reasonably good thought in the event that they’re going to get alongside. And if it’s a household, we like them to have their youngsters there as a result of we’ve had canines returned if the child is afraid of the canine after a couple of days.”

Animals who’ve been residing in foster properties could have a extra dependable temperament than those that have been residing in high-stress shelter kennels. Tietjens with MEOW Co. says they like to put their kittens in foster properties which have canines, youngsters and a whole lot of stimulation. That manner, “they study that socialization and to not be afraid of issues,” she mentioned.

Be able to pay extra

Adoption charges from rescues may be fairly a bit larger than from shelters. It’s because government-funded shelters are continually needing to maneuver the animals out of their services to make room for others.

For instance, Kern County Animal Providers costs $85 for a canine, however drops it to zero if the canine has been there longer than 30 days. Bakersfield Animal Care Middle costs $50 for a canine however repeatedly gives promotions for as little as $10. Alternatively, the native rescues will cost an adoption charge of about $200 to $300 for canines, and the SPCA, which is a no-kill shelter, has a reasonably extensive scale of $100 for senior canines to $400 for puppies.

Rescuers counsel considering of the adoption charge as a donation for saying thanks for caring for the animal. Rescues are donation-funded and spend hundreds of {dollars} on vet visits, vaccinations, spay and neutering, microchips, feeding, coaching and caring for animals long-term.

“We spend some huge cash on these canines,” mentioned Martineau, whose rescue waives adoption charges for regulation enforcement, veterans and repair members. “There have been properties which might be nice properties and couldn’t afford that charge. I take every one into consideration. However do we would like that charge? Yah, we do.”

Plan for adjustment time

Rescuers need their adoptions to all achieve success. As a part of the adoption contract, they are going to ask for updates on how the animal is doing, in addition to be obtainable to reply questions.

All pets will want time to regulate to their new properties. Martineau warns that canines could also be unhappy, on the lookout for their authentic proprietor, and take time to heat up. It might take weeks and even months for a canine to settle in and belief their new residence surroundings. If the canine comes from a kennel facility, it is going to want additional time to regulate to a house life once more.

“While you go into an animal shelter and also you’re taking a look at row after row of canines, it’s vital to recollect this can be a high-stress surroundings for that animal,” Cullen mentioned. “Their true habits, true persona, true traits usually are not going to point out by till they arrive into your home and begin to launch that stress.”

Cats additionally take some time to acclimate to their new environment.

“Lots of people will undertake and instantly panic as a result of they don’t suppose it is going to work out,” Tietjens mentioned. “These cats, more often than not, have been taken off the road. They’d one other life earlier than you. So a whole lot of what we speak about is gaining your belief and exhibiting them that individuals are OK. All cats are naturally cautious however cats which have form of been by it, are extra cautious of individuals. They want extra endurance and understanding.”

Rescuers would require you to return the animal to their care if it simply doesn’t work out. However that’s worst-case state of affairs. Rescues will strive their greatest to offer adopters the instruments to efficiently take care of the pet for the long-haul.

“Folks say, ‘I might not desire a rescue canine since you simply don’t know what they’ve been by,’” Martineau mentioned. “You’re proper. You don’t know. However even with these 102 canines we adopted out final yr, nobody’s come again they usually have been all canines that had a previous. We figured them out a bit of bit, and of their new properties they … embraced their new lives.”

Contemplate serving to in different methods

Rescue organizations want volunteers and donations. For those who love animals however simply aren’t in a position to undertake, think about fostering, volunteering, or making donations of cash or gadgets.

Contemplate serving to to scrub kennels and stroll and play with the canines. Or take canines on day journeys to parks, or for weekends or holidays. Possibly even elevate a litter of kittens till they attain adoptable ages. Make donations to assist with vet visits, pet meals, and fuel for transportation.

Any little bit will assist.

“Each shelter, each rescue, we’re all doing it to seek out loving eternally properties and security for these animals,” mentioned Deshponde of Fortunate’s Crew. “We’re simply all on this collectively and doing our greatest.”



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