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Rescue Pet Mythbusting Pt. 3

[Rescue Pet Mythbusting Pt. 3]

 

Kodiak (1)

Beautiful floof Kodiak, up for adoption through AARCS, ID # A37928147!

Written by Ioana Busuioc, October 2018

Special thanks to our fabulous Animal Behavior Coordinator Natasha Pupulin for her help on behavioral and temperament-related content!

The third and final part of the three part series. Enjoy!

Myth #7

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Reality: The beauty with animals is that, much like people, they all have their own unique ways of learning. If something doesn’t stick, there are many resources at one’s disposal to try and explore alternative ways of approaching training differently. Similarly to humans, dogs go through a series of development stages as they grow; just like babies, puppies are naturally curious and learn from experiencing the world, but as they grow, they require more structured learning in order to acquire and retain new information. For example, a dog who has grown up in the absence of sidewalks may find it hard to walk so close to strangers and moving cars. This could cause them to experience discomfort, or potentially feel unsafe for them. By using targeted techniques that address the underlying fears that the dog has about this activity, we can teach the dog that the whole experience of being on a sidewalk is safe and fun! If we break this challenge down into manageable pieces for the dog, reinforce choices and experiences with high value reinforcement, we can affect change, promote a feeling of safety for the dog, and thus successfully overcome this obstacle! Having a fully stocked toolbox of techniques and knowledge that are specific to your adult dog, adolescent, or puppy, will make sure you are successful in whatever you set out to accomplish. The behaviour team is well versed in the next steps for your foster, and will often share recommendations on your dog’s file that you may find helpful in selecting a dog that you will enjoy working with, as well as the techniques that the dog requires for success.

Snuggly gal Posie, up for adoption! ID # A39891939

Snuggly gal Posie, up for adoption! ID # A39891939

Myth #8

The age of the dog will determine the activity level, and therefore it is an important factor to consider when adopting a dog.

Reality: Not at all! As Natasha, our Animal Behaviour Coordinator, states, she can “think of tons of cases where 4 month old puppies, teenagers, and young adults, have arrived at AARCS and in foster homes and act nothing like their age”. Energy and playfulness are primarily determined by the dog’s perception of safety in their environment and their level of socialization. Where there is a lack of perceived safety, or socialization, the dog may choose to suppress otherwise normal play or movement in favour of drawing as little attention to themselves as possible. Although age may be important to families considering the amount of time they will spend with their new furry family member, it should not be used as an indicator of activity alone. Talking to our knowledgeable adoption counselors and/or foster parents will give a much clearer understanding on whether the dog’s energy fits with your family’s expectations and lifestyle.

 

Myth #9

The adoption process takes too much time, or it is too difficult.

Reality: The adoption process through a rescue is comprised of several steps, but it is only because we are dedicated to ensuring that the animal is placed in its forever home with the right family, home, lifestyle, and so forth. The procedure is there to make your life (and the animal’s!) easier, since it goes beyond simply giving a pet a home, but more so giving a pet the RIGHT home, their forever home, and of course, so that the new owner(s) know more accurately what the animal will be like. AARCS’ adoption procedures are as follows:

Step 1. Completing the appropriate adoption application form, all of which are located online at http://aarcs.ca/application-forms

Step 2. The Adoptions Coordinator will review the application and email the applicant typically between 24 and 48 hours

Step 3. Upon the approval of the application, if there is a foster family, they will contact the applicant within 48 hours to arrange a “meet and greet”, which all family members must attend

Note: If you have cats and/or dogs, all family dogs must be present for the “meet and greet” for adoptable dogs. Cats do not need to attend these meetings and dogs do not need to attend them for adoptable cats, only dogs. Slow introductions with cats are always strongly encouraged!

Step 4. For a dog adoption, we request that applicants take a day to think about your decision, and to discuss the potential adoption openly and fully with all members of the household. If the applicant makes a decision, they are to contact the Adoption Coordinator with their decision at adoptions@aarcs.ca no later than 24 hours after the meeting.

How has this cutie not been snagged up yet?! Neon is available for adoption, ID # A39230855

How has this cutie not been snagged up yet?! Neon is available for adoption, ID # A39230855

For a cat adoption, the same guidelines apply, however we do permit same day adoptions. Should the applicant decide on a same day adoption, they must come prepared with a pet carrier. Applicants must pay the adoption fee and provide proof of payment to the foster home before the cat can be released. Adoption fees can be paid online on our website, by calling or visiting our shelter during business hours, or in some cases we can accept e-transfers as well, and we encourage applicants to talk to the Adoptions Coordinator for more information! For kittens under the age of 6 months, we prefer homes with existing feline companions, as kittens require significant stimulation and interaction with other cats/kittens for healthy social development, as well as taking into consideration that kittens with litter-mates or cat companions tend to be happier and healthier.

Step 5. If all parties are in favor of the adoption (adoption committee, foster family, and prospective adoptive family), and it is not a same day cat adoption, applicants can pick up their new family member the following day or arrange for a mutually beneficial time with the foster home. Please be prepared for your new pet, with food, bed, toys, and bowls before he or she comes home!

Note: AARCS provides vaccinations for all animals while in our care, however the adoptive family is responsible for vaccinations and continued deworming that come due after the adoption is completed. All AARCS animals are spayed or neutered prior to adoption, and this cost is included in the adoption fee.

Myth #10

Shelter dogs will have more health problems that I will end up having to pay for.

Reality: One of the best things about AARCS as a shelter in particular is that we have a vet clinic on site through which all animals get treated, vaccinated, and operated upon! By adoption from a shelter, potential adopters can more easily ensure that the animal they are interested in has already been seen by a veterinarian and all health concerns are transparent and well documented. Again, we want to ensure the best possible match for adopter and pet alike, and this certainly includes a level of health that is appropriate for the adopter’s capabilities. Yes, there are some animals that will end up requiring treatment for either short term periods of time or for long term periods of time, but we do not want to hide this for the sake of an adoption. Some individuals are better suited and in positions in which they can more readily take care of animals with various health conditions, the same way certain individuals may not be ready for a special needs animal. It’s also worth keeping in mind that shelter dogs come in many breeds and sizes, but because many of them are mixed-breed, this gives them better genetic variety, which can ultimately lead to healthier lives!

Note: If an applicant is interested in a special needs pet or one that will require more careful medical attention, AARCS is well equipped to ensure the applicant has all the necessary information and support moving forward!

Louis SQ

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article, and keep in mind that any questions regarding adoption can be sent to adoptions@aarcs.ca for dogs, or catadoptions@aarcs.ca for cats! Our dedicated staff is always ready to make sure potential applicants get the information they need to ensure a match made in heaven!


AARCS_adopt_canine AARCS_adopt_feline
Campbell Thornton, K. (March 7th, 2007). The ABCs of Adopting a Purebred Dog from an Animal Shelter, retrieved from http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/the-abcs-of-adopting-a-purebred-dog-from-an-animal-shelter
Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at blog@aarcs.ca!

October 20, 2018

 

 

Rescue Pet Mythbusting(Part 2)

[Rescue Pet Mythbusting Part. 2]

Photo courtesy of Alexei Chernenkoff Photography

Written by Ioana Busuioc, August 2018

Special thanks to our fabulous Animal Behavior Coordinator Natasha Pupulin for her help on behavioral and temperament-related content!

The second part of this three part myth busting series! Read on for some more fast facts and informative debunking!

Myth #4

Adoption fees are too expensive.

Reality: Adoption fees may seem daunting, but keep in mind that shelters provide care and medical assistance for the animals present and these adoption fees, alongside donations, are what help shelters stay afloat and continue caring for thousands of animals each year. AARCS spays and neuters all animals prior to adoptions, and we provide vaccinations for all animals while in our care, this is included in the adoption fee. Adoptive families are however responsible for vaccinations and continued treatments after the adoption process. AARCS’ adoption fees are as follows:

  • $375 for dogs 7 months and older
  • $495 for dogs 6 months and under
  • $200 for senior dogs 8 years and older
  • $150 for cats 7 months and older
  • $225 for two cats 7 months and older (bonded pair)
  • $200 for a single kitten 6 months and under
  • $400 for two kittens 6 months and under
  • $60 for senior cats over 9 years

Myth #5

Knowing the breed or the mix will help you to understand temperament.

Reality: This is incorrect! If we know what a dog’s parental lineage was, such as a german shepard mother and a husky father, there is no way to know which genes have been passed down to the pup. This is especially relevant for temperament, intelligence, social skills, etc. The best way to get a genuine feel for a dog’s temperament is not to go by breed, but by getting to know the individual, read body language daily, and provide training support as needed. This is facilitated through AARCS with the intake assessment and our foster program, which helps us successfully match potential adopters with the right dog, not the right breed.  As a matter of fact, many shelters have moved from a specified breed to a “mixed breed” designation, unless that dog’s lineage is known and many find this helps improve the chances of finding the perfect match – without breed bias.

Myth #6

Getting a puppy is the best option because you know what you’re getting.

Reality: Not necessarily true. There is the appealing prospect of being able to shape the puppy as it grows, however puppies do not reach emotional and behavioural maturity until about 3 years of age. During this time, puppies go through a series of experiences, development stages, and fear imprinting periods that will shape their behaviours into adulthood. Adult dogs older than 3 years old will afford you more reliability in assessing behaviours long term. If there are ever any traits that may seem undesirable to you as a potential pet owner, adult dogs typically already have their own characteristics and behaviours set out, so it is much easier to know what you are getting. Additionally, puppies require A LOT of work, attention, and training, whereas adult dogs may already have some training!

It is fair to state though, that based on experience, any adult, puppy, or adolescent may experience behaviour changes throughout their lifetimes, however the variation is greater in puppies when compared to adults after a period of assessment in foster care or in your home.

Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!


AARCS_adopt_canine AARCS_adopt_feline
Pandora_9

Photo credits to Alexei Chernenkoff

Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at blog@aarcs.ca!

August 25, 2018
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[ Rescue Pet Mythbusting ]

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Written by Ioana Busuioc, July 2018

Special thanks to our fabulous Animal Behavior Coordinator Natasha Pupulin for her help on behavioral and temperament-related content!

When considering adopting a pet, many people wonder where the best place to get their new furry companion will be. There are numerous options, such as pet stores, breeders, even online on websites such as Kijiji, but the best option by far is through a rescue organization. That being said, rescue pets can often be at the center of misunderstandings due to various myths and misconceptions. Read on for some informative debunking!

Myth #1

One of the most common misconception about shelter pets is that they have behavioral issues that cannot be fixed.

Reality: It’s important to know that rescued animals come from all sorts of backgrounds, and yes, some of those backgrounds might be rooted in an undesirable or harmful situation for an animal, but the majority are happy-go-lucky pets who are ready for their forever home. Some animals end up in a shelter because they grew up without a family, their family can no longer care for them, their owners have passed away, from being lost and unable to reunite with their owners. Beyond this, there are animals who are rescued from hoarding situations, abusive situations. Naturally, animals who come from the aforementioned situations might experience cautiousness, fear, shyness, and so on. The most important thing to remember is that many of these  issues are resolved with time, love, patience, and training from their fosters and adopters.At AARCS, it is why fostering and daily interaction with animals is crucial in order to help rescues come out of their shells and feel safe and secure so that their personalities may shine through for their future families. If there are ever issues related to the training of an animal, more commonly dogs, they are also addressed within shelter, and  they continue into foster care to increase the animal’s adoptability. A reputable rescue will always disclose any existing concerns for your consideration prior to adopting, and will advise you about the prognosis for resolving those issues so you and your family can make a choice that is right for you.

 

An example of behavior we deal with that can be a concern to prospective pet owners is resource guarding. Contrary to popular belief, resource guarding behaviours do not originate from dogs raised in free-roaming environments or a history of scavenging behaviour. In fact, we see this behaviour reported in less than 1% of our dogs when observed in shelter and in home environments. Resource guarding can happen to any breed and at an age, and studies show that there is no clear correlation between genetics and this type of behavior. It is considered a fear-based behavior, and it is more often seen in dogs who are stressed and lack confidence. There are various ways of approaching this type of behavior, but ultimately there is a solution through consistency, patience, and care. Resource guarding is highly manageable, and in many cases, can be resolved quickly and easily using desensitization and counterconditioning techniques.

Myth #2

I don’t know what I’m getting with a rescue pet.

Reality: While it is true that shelters may not have significant information on various animals as they get taken in, organizations aim to put in the time and effort to get to know the animal before putting it up for adoption. AARCS is fortunate enough to have an Animal Behavior Coordinator. Natasha, and more than 600 dedicated caregivers and foster homes  who take it upon themselves to improve adoptability rates, enrich the shelter environment, and deliver effective, kind and entertaining training activities to improve the quality of life for the animals in AARCS’ care as well as for their post-adoption lives! While breeders and retail stores might concern themselves more with quick turnovers, shelters like AARCS aim towards making great matches! It’s important to know that many of the animals taken in benefit from staying with a foster family prior to adoption. This is helpful for a few reasons, but most importantly it gets an animal the chance to get socialized with people, as well as potentially children or other animals, so that their personality can shine through and they can ultimately get adopted into the perfect family. All in all, animals that come through shelters get a lot of time and attention given to them so that rescue workers can be able to pinpoint any issues, address them, and cultivate positive traits and behaviors.

Myth #3

Getting a puppy is the best option because you know what you’re getting.

Reality: Not necessarily true. There is the appealing prospect of being able to shape the puppy as it grows, however puppies do not reach emotional and behavioural maturity until about 3 years of age. During this time, puppies go through a series of experiences, development stages, and fear imprinting periods that will shape their behaviours into adulthood. Adult dogs older than 3 years old will afford you more reliability in assessing behaviours long term. If there are ever any traits that may seem undesirable to you as a potential pet owner, adult dogs typically already have their own characteristics and behaviours set out, so it is much easier to know what you are getting. Additionally, puppies require A LOT of work, attention, and training, whereas adult dogs may already have some training!

It is fair to state tough, that based on experience, any adult, puppy, or adolescent may experience behaviour changes throughout their lifetimes, however the variation is greater in puppies when compared to adults after a period of assessment in foster care or in your home.

Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!


Warner 05

Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at blog@aarcs.ca!

July 5, 2018