By Jim McGregor/Special to Langley Advance Times
As the pandemic restrictions are eased and people begin their return to work, some areas of the country are reporting that pets adopted during COVID are being returned to shelters.
People are no longer able to look after their pets or they are dealing with behaviour issues such as separation anxiety. The cute puppy they adopted suddenly is a big dog and, without proper training and guidance, they may become rambunctious or aggressive.
Sarah Jones, the executive director of Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS), says that is not the case in Langley.
“We are not seeing animals adopted during the pandemic being returned to us, and we credit our adoption policy with helping achieve the right match of pet and owner,” she said.
“At the start of the lockdown, we experienced an increase in people wanting to get a companion now that they were going to be at home. We were seeing sometimes seven or eight people applying to adopt one pet and over a hundred applying for some of the kittens. When that happens, we have to take the time to ensure pet and owner are the right fit,” Jones explained.
LAPS has a four-step adoption policy.
First, a client will view and select their new pet and fill out an application.
Next, they meet with an adoption counsellor who will review their application and ensure that the pet, the family’s lifestyle, and household are compatible.
Step 3, if a person is selected to adopt the dog they applied for, an adoption counsellor will contact the people directly.
Every LAPS adopter must commit to three training sessions before taking a dog home, Jones said.
The purpose of the training sessions is to provide the dog and the adopter with the training and resources they need to succeed in their new environment, she elaborated.
Step 4 is signing the adoption contract and receiving transition counselling before taking the pet home.
Sarah pointed out that this process is so much different than buying a rescue dog from the United States or other agency.
“With our process, there are hopefully no surprises for either the pet or the owner when you get them home.”
Prior to adoption, all LAPS dogs and cats are spayed or neutered, tattooed or microchipped, and receive their first set of vaccinations. The adoption fee also includes a free check-up with a veterinarian within three days of adoption, six weeks of free pet insurance, and a bag of premium food.
“All of these policies help to make the home a ‘forever home’ and prepare the owner for changes that might occur,” said Jones.
“We had some owners come back to us when the COVID restrictions eased because the family was socializing more, there was increased activity at dog parks and their pets were being exposed to new activity. Giving them advice and maybe some re-training is part of our adoption contract, we are always there for our adoption partners.”
As the environment changes, LAPS is also adjusting to heat domes and atmospheric rivers.
“With the recent flooding in the Sumas area, we are the closest dry shelter and we have a responsibility to offer and provide shelter for animals displaced by flooding. We have been brought a few strays, including a day old turkey found on the side of the road. It has spent many hours inside the warm shirts of our employees. We are very grateful for the many donations of food and cash we have received for the flood victims.”
When asked about giving pets as Christmas presents, Jones suggested that instead of gifting a cute puppy or kitten with a red bow under the tree, people should go a different route.
“Give a card with a message that you are going to adopt a pet, and then come out and go through our adoption process is a much more practical idea.”
One of LAPS goals is to provide compassionate, caring services to animals and people. For those interested in adopting, volunteering, or donating, they can find out more online at www.lapsbc.ca, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 604-857-5055.
LAPS is located at 26220 56th Ave. in Aldergrove.
Is there more to the story? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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