By Barbara Paulic
“Wanted – young male, single and free. Experience in love preferred, but will accept a young trainee.”
This is a line from a song released in 1971 about a woman who is looking for a new love in the Want Ads. True, I did change “man” to “male” but you get the idea. She is specific about what she is looking for in her new love, and it is also something I hear from people all the time when they are looking for a pet.
Many people have the notion that they need a young animal to bond with, preferably a baby. They think that it has to be a boy (or a girl) and the animal must already be loving to fit in their home.
Every week at our shelter’s open house, I see this idea challenged and proven untrue. Each year, we see hundreds of cats come into Katie’s Place Shelter, and each year we see hundreds find loving homes, and not just the “young and single.”
If you choose to take home a “free kitten/puppy” from somewhere in your neighbourhood or from a friend or relative, remember there are still costs involved.
Many areas, Maple Ridge included, have bylaws stating all animals over six months must be spayed/neutered and identified. The identification can be a tagged collar, which may get lost, or a tattoo or microchip which you can get at your vet’s office. It’s also a good idea that you take your new friend to a vet within the first month of bringing it home to check for any health conditions, and have them get their first vaccinations.
No doubt, these animals deserve a loving home, but all things considered they are not so “free.”
Then there is the option of adopting an animal from a recognized shelter. Yes, there is a fee involved. Yes, the animals are all ages, including just plain old.
But when shelter animals are adopted out, they will be spayed/neutered, tattooed/microchipped and have had their first vaccinations.
Yes, some of them have health problems that will require attention at some point, but then don’t we all!
Some are loving from the word go, others need a little more time to warm up to you, and still others will never be like that snuggly kitten on the bathroom tissue commercial.
Barbara Paulic is a volunteer at Katie’s Place.