WFLA News Channel 8 is teaming up with shelters across the Tampa Bay area to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, August 18 to help find loving homes for animals in need.
Since the Clear the Shelters effort began in 2015, more than 150,000 pets have found their forever homes.
The choice to adopt a shelter pet is an admirable one, but it isn’t a decision to take lightly. Dara Eckart, Director of Friends of Strays in St. Petersburg, one of the participating shelters, offers this insight and advice.
- It takes pets time to become comfortable in their surroundings. Cats, especially, may take up to a year to completely warm up. Eckart says sometimes adoptive families return cats to the shelter, assuming their new feline isn’t going to work out. But, she says, you need to give the cat time to adjust to his new surroundings.
- Shelters and rescues do their best to get to know the personalities of the animals they take in. And many organizations encourage meet-and-greets for families with dogs, who plan to add another to their brood. But a positive meet-and-greet doesn’t ensure household harmony. Signs of trouble can include aggressive or territorial behavior. Eckart says, in the rare cases when a dog is returned to the shelter, the failed adoption is an opportunity to learn about the animal, and place it in a more appropriate home.
- Strays often come to shelters with worms, respiratory infections, or other ailments. They will receive treatment prior to being cleared for adoption. However, it’s recommended, or even required, that you follow up with your own veterinarian within a couple of weeks. And, you have to expect that you’ll incur some medical expenses post-adoption.
- Senior pets are harder to place, but make wonderful adoptees. Families need to prepare for the added costs of caring for an older animal.
- Adoption should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. In addition to the financial considerations, it’s imperative to look ahead to the future, five, 10 or 15 years down the line. Will a change in lifestyle greatly impact your pet? If you are prepared to make adjustments that are positive for your new best friend, then adoption is a great option.
Read more about Clear the Shelters and other pet stories here.