Nearly half of all households keep a pet, and they can be an invaluable addition to both a family and single person. They offer company, entertainment and love for little in return other than the same back with food and warmth. Many people still buy a pet from a breeder, but please look at one of the rescue centres; you’ll be giving a homeless animal a family to love.
Keeping a cat or dog doesn’t cost the earth, and to keep costs at a minimum, always insure your pet. In the case of an emergency, you could ask your bank, building society or a payday loan company such as Wonga.com for some help, but you can always try the PDSA to help with vets’ bills too.
Once you’ve decided that you really want a pet and have the time to care for it, it’s time to choose the right rescue centre. There are many private ones, but it is often safer to choose a legitimate charitable organisation such as the RSPCA, Cat’s Protection or Battersea Dogs’ Home.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has been caring for animals since 1824. Originally the SPCA, the R was added in 1840 with the permission of Queen Victoria. As one of their aims is to stop pet overpopulation, obtaining your new addition from them will help the cause. In 2012 they re-homed animals to over 55,000 families. Animals rescued by the RSPA sometimes need some rehabilitation, and are always thoroughly health-checked and assessed for behaviour. They carefully match animals to owners; some need a quiet life, others prefer children to play with.
Cat’s Protection (formerly The Cat Protection League) helps over 235,000 cats annually. Their 8,500 volunteers support and encourage the neutering of cats to prevent unplanned litters, and they have over 6,200 cats and kittens at any one time waiting for their perfect home.
Battersea Dogs’ Home was established in 1860. They have rehoming fees which are £135 for dogs (over 6 months) and £165 for puppies. Dogs are assessed to see what kind of lifestyle, home and environment is appropriate and are micro-chipped and vaccinated. They also come with a lead, collar and identification tag, and four weeks’ worth of free Petplan insurance. You’ll need to register with them either at one of their three centres in London, Berkshire and Kent or online before the re-homing process can begin.
Why so cruel?
•In the last five years there have been nearly 6,000 incidents recorded involving dangerous dogs, often having been badly treated by their owners or bred for fighting.
•In Suffolk recently, two dogs were rescued by Pampered Pets after being thrown from a van.
•Four-year-old Lexi Hudson was savaged to death by a bulldog in her Leicestershire home.
• Eight Staffordshire bull terrier cross-breeds were dumped in a park in Derby
•15 puppies of various breeds were found by the Erewash Canal in Sandiacre where they had been abandoned.
Please remember the old adage, “A dog (or cat) is for life, not just for Christmas”.