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September 21, 2018

Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Some Adoption Policies Don’t Make Sense


Dear Porky and Buddy,
I am so annoyed I can hardly think straight. I went to a shelter to adopt a puppy this morning and found that they had two puppies up for adoption, brothers. So, I thought what the heck, I’ll adopt both of them!

But when I told this to the adoption person she said they have a policy against adopting more that one sibling puppy at a time! That seemed so stupid to me that I just left!

They could have had a home for two of their dogs, a double adoption fee, and a very happy adopter and supporter.

Now, nothing.

I feel bad for the puppies, but really why even pretend to be all about adoptions and then make it so hard for people?
John

Dear John,
We could not agree more that “some” adoption policies and practices seen a bit counter-productive.

They are based on old assumptions, anecdotal folk tales or just plain bias.

For example, research has shown that pets given as “gifts” around holidays are no more likely to be abandoned or returned than any other adopted pets.

Why shouldn’t people who have demanding jobs also have dogs?

And why can’t little kids be taught how to behave safely (and lovingly) around big dogs – for tiny kittens?

That said, there are some adoption policies that are based on sound animal behavior science and this is one of them.

Litter mates adopted together at an early age run the risk of developing what is called “litter mate syndrome.”

What can happen is that the bond between the puppies is so strong that it impedes their ability to learn canine/humane communication and how to interact with the outside world.

In essence they develop the habit of huddling together and block everything else out.

Signs of the syndrome are fearfulness toward unfamiliar people, other dogs and new situations;  intense anxiety when separated; and difficulty with learning even basic obedience commands.

They may also tend to fight with each other a lot. It is less likely to happen when litter mates go to a home where there is an older dog – apparently because that dog can have a stabilizing influence.

But the risk of having two badly socialized and unhappy  dogs far outweighs any sanctification that you would have gotten by “saving two instead of one.”

So here’s what you should do.

Go back to the shelter – apologize profusely for being such an ignoramus – adopt a puppy or better yet, an older dog even more at risk.

Wait six months or a year until your new best friend has settled in, then go back and adopt another dog.

Same accomplishment, you’ve saved two dogs.

Better result for both of them and you.

What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a new pet?

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office has relocated to 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!

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