County Pet Adoptions Up
The Montgomery County Animal Shelter is reporting an increase in pet adoptions.
Whether it's the economy or just some unknown cyclical trend, pet adoptions are up at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.
There were 230 adoptions last month, compared with 206 in December 2009.
"Right now, I have 21 applications assigned to adoption interviewers," said Meg Sydnor, an adoption coordinator at the shelter at 14645 Rothgeb Drive in Rockville.
Shelter officials say they cannot explain why more Montgomery County residents want to bring pets into their homes.
"People may have been waiting until after the holidays, winter break or other reasons," said B.J. Altschul, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Humane Society.
Montgomery County owns the animal shelter but hires the Humane Society to operate it. Southern Maryland residents make the same choices for pets as most other places, which normally means dogs and cats, she said.
Other animals occasionally make it onto the list. Right now, they include a chinchilla.Previously, they have included iguanas, bearded dragons, snakes, rats and mice.
"We get a pretty wide variety," Altschul said.
Typical reasons given by patrons of the animal shelter for wanting to adopt include companionship, friend for an existing pet, exercise buddies or simply the humanitarian motive of wanting to rescue an endangered animal. Geri Bellman, a rescue coordinator for the Montgomery County Humane Society who owns seven dogs and three cats, explained her motives by saying, "I like even numbers."
However, the Montgomery County Humane Society warns against rushing into pet adoption merely for the sake of popularity.
Adopting a pet is similar to adopting a child, which requires careful planning to care for the animal. The Montgomery County Anima Shelter offers the following advice for anyone who wants to adopt a pet:
(1) Carefully consider how much time you and other members of your household realistically can devote to caring for a living being. Be prepared to make a commitment for the animal's entire lifetime.
(2) Consider the budget you'll need to look after your pet. Food, veterinary and related health expenses, toys, grooming, training, a deposit to your landlord if you rent and flea or tick preventive treatments are basics.
(3) Make sure your home is physically ready to welcome your pet. Be sure that anything edible or valuable is securely out of reach. Plan ahead where your pet will sleep – crate, laundry room, bedroom, pet bed or something else comfortable.
(4) Plan ahead for the training your pet might need. In most cases, training that emphasizes rewards is an excellent choice. Even if the animal is already trained, some refresher work goes a long way to cementing the human-animal bond.
Following are Web sites to help guide anyone wanting to adopt a pet:
www.yourdogsfriend.info offers free workshops without your dog and paid classes with your dog.
http://mchumane.org/askmissmadeline.shtml offers free online behavior advice about cats and dogs.
http://mchumane.org/theadoptionprocess.shtml offers information about the Montgomery County Humane Society's adoption process and standards.
http://mchumane.org/animalsinshelter.shtml lists animals currently available for adoption in Montgomery County.
Photo by Robin Siegel