Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Foster a pet for Christmas? BAH! HUMBUG!

After yesterday's blog I seem to be on something of a roll. Please refrain from reading my comments until after you have read what the below link has to say.

Foster a dog for Christmas? What ever happened to the warning, "Never bring home a new animal during the holidays?" Funny thing, that. Seems to me I don't remember at time in the last 40 years when many people thought getting a puppy, kitten, dog, cat between Thanksgiving and New Year's was a good idea.

Well, that may be a tad bit too all encompassing. While it has always been true that those who already know how to handle, train and care for a house pet are able to do so anytime of the year it's still not easy to do during the major holidays at the end of the year.

Just about every place that has an animal control department also seems to have limit laws. What this very efficiently does is make sure the only people available to take part in this harebrained scheme are those who know the very least in the way of practical knowledge of good, honest animal husbandry type care of the fosters they will be taking in.

How many will understand the need to maintain some sort of quarantine to protect the resident dogs/cats from any disease being harbored by the incoming foster? How many will understand how to orchestrate a safe introduction between the resident animals and the incoming foster?

The few questions I just posed hardly touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bringing a new animal into a household with resident dogs/cats firmly in place.

Then again, maybe the entire plan is to turn down those who may actually have the experience and know how and replace knowledge with warm fuzzy thinkers who don't have a clue as to what it takes to properly care for, feed, train and exercise a dog or even a cat. When they fail, as a very large majority will, the number of anti-animal people just increased yet again. After all, the thinking goes, if I can't even take care of one dog/cat then there is no way Sally Smith or Jill Jones can take care of 50. Never mind that both Smith and Jones have the proper set-up, coupled with some full time help and a part timer or two. Nope, if Ms. Fuzzybrain Lovesdogs finds it next to impossible to love her just 'rescued' 90 pounds of wild, untrained young, male Lab, then it's a slam-dunk that neither can anyone else.

The entire "Foster a Pet for Christmas" just stinks. If you are just itching to help then actually go do some volunteer work. Take a couple 40# bags of food, bedding, even toys to the local shelter and then should you decide that giving temporary housing is something you want to do, do it AFTER January 1.

Besides which, the generic you needs to remember the reality is you are not strictly speaking engaging in rescue when you go to a shelter, group, pound to pick out a pet. You are doing the equivalent of going to a used car lot, only instead of cars/trucks you are buying a used or what do they call them now? Previously owned. That's right, you are buying a previously owned animal. Mind you there is not a single thing wrong with buying a previously owned animal as long as you admit that is what you have done. You didn't rescue it. You bought and paid for it.

Just do the homing, rehoming stuff after the first of the new year.


  1. wow, you are on the roll!
    But I have to admit you confused me with this one.
    Maybe the idea of fostering an animal from the shelter for the holiday is a lame one, but I think you a bit overstretching the consequences.
    I doubt lots of people would run into the shelter on Black Friday to get a dog. Life is not Hollywood. But even if someone does, I doubt the experience will turn him or her into the animal hater.
    The only people I see doing something like this are those who would buy a puppy for Christmas and then take it to the shelter when he becomes big and unmanageable. But those are the people who do not put much thought into anything and I doubt any thought at all will cross their mind after the shelter door closes behind them.
    now, do you really don't think that adopting a dog from the shelter is rescue? Maybe from "no kill" shelter it's not, but I think if you save the dogs life it is a rescue.
    Here is a story of the dog that our friends had adopted:
    It's true that our society overly humanizes animals, but I don't think it's right to put down the dog just because no one wants it. And I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to give that dog home for the rest of it's life.

  2. Oh, fer crying out loud. I love dogs and think people who want a pet for no particular job can find a good dog cheap at the pound, but I also think most people should foster before adopting (or buying used, as you call it), because the 15 minutes in the shelter does not give most people a good sense of the animal.

    I'm also snickering up my sleeve, as we picked up the new hunting puppy Saturday. She's a handful, and we know what we're doing, and what we got ourselves in for. Ideally, we would have picked her up after the first of the year, but there's some issues between scheduling of medical tests for the humans that meant it was this weekend or the end of January. She's going to make things even more crazy, just because she can only hold it about three hours, and has no problems shouting the roof down until someone comes to take her outside. Of course, she's not loose in the house, she's in a crate in an x-pen on a tarp with newspapers down, so we're not worried about cords, messes on carpets, what the other dogs think of her, or any of the many things I expect the new foster homes to be doing. Them, and any other person who thinks giving a young animal as a gift next month is a good idea.

    We've done rescue work before, taking dogs no one else wanted and working with them until they were dogs people would want, some moved on to other homes, some stuck with us. I honestly think that the push should be for people to foster in the summer and fall when there's a number of kittens and puppies and the older animals are ignored. Here, the shelter I like best can clear 300 animals in a weekend and be full again by Wednesday. Fostering the older animals then, or tackling the care for a pregnant animal and her offspring until they're done with shots and ready to go on to new homes, that's a lasting help. In the North east where they're busing in animals because the spay and neuter rates are higher (responsible owners of intact animals are not the ones making "whoops" litters that go to the shelter, in my experience), it may be different, but here there's a "kitten and puppy season". That's when shelters need the most foster home support. Towels, blankets, food, money, those are the things they tend to need at all times.

    The movie and the campaign is just another "holiday season" guilt trip. When did it become vogue for people to suffer for being happy? I hope people see through it and don't take a dog from one stressful situation to a new stressful, chaotic home environment with the intention of punting them back after their "holiday duty" or "holiday tradition" is over, because it doesn't help the dog's mental state. And if it's for the good of the animal, and not for the good feelings of the human, the animal should stay not just for Christmas, but until a new home is found. But that's the truth of this- it's not about the animals, it's about the "feel good" opportunity for people who don't know what they're doing.

    I highly doubt a dog in the world knows that there's anything special about December 25th to January 1st. I feel that dragging the dog into the insanity so many people create at that time of year with no intention of keeping the animal long term is unfair both to the humans and the animals. But that's my opinion, and that and $10 can get me a coffee at Starbucks.