Their heartbreak is evident. You can see it in their eyes. Some get sick because the stress of losing their beloved family wreaks havoc on their immune system.
We have a TLC list at Katie’s Place that shows all the cats who need to be watched closely because they are not adjusting well to a life at the shelter. Some have even lost their lives because no matter what we did, it just wasn’t enough to make up for their loss.
The reasons people give up their animals are numerous and at times even justified.
But before you part with your dog or cat, think about the reasons you are making this choice. If you are worried that you spend too much time away from home, then consider that they would rather see you once a day than never again. If you worry that the home you live in is too small, and they need more room, then consider the that, at a shelter, they will either be in a small cage or sharing a relatively small area with several other animals. If you are worried that you just don’t have enough time to give them proper attention, then consider that, at a shelter, they will be one of hundreds and may not get any attention at all.
It is important to understand that no home is perfect and not all of us have the time to spend hours sitting on a couch petting our pet. But they are in a home. They are safe. They are warm. They are fed and they have a soft couch on which to curl up on and wait for you to come home.
Animals, like humans, develop strong bonds with their family. While some adjust to the shelter life and accept their fate, many mourn their loss as any of us would if we were suddenly ripped away from our loved ones.
I am not Dr. Doolittle and I don’t claim to talk to animals, but I think, if they could, they would tell you that a few minutes with you in a home they know and love beats a life at a shelter paws down. People need to realize that not all animals that go into a shelter end up in a new loving home. Some live out their lives there, some are euthanized, some die from illness, and some from a broken heart.
Magda Szulc is a volunteer at Katie’s Place animal shelter.