One of the greatest tragedies of the failed housing market is the cost to pets and animals. And although highlighted now and again after some tragic event where a pet has been left behind to starve without food or water in an abandoned house or chained to a tree when their family moved, it has been under reported.
Losing your home, often after having also lost your job in today’s uncertain financial environment, can be both scary and overwhelming. People become panicked and often make rash and unsound decisions under the pressure or go into a state of denial. But leaving your pet or any animal behind without making arrangements for them to be taken care of could end up haunting both you and your family forever. A pet is a family member and abandoning them, besides being illegal, could leave permanent scars, especially on children.
Often lack of planning is the greatest culprit. Friends or family members will usually take your pets, either permanently or until you or an adoptive family can take them, if you really cannot or do not know where you are going or cannot take them along. Running an ad in the local paper, online, or in the neighborhood ad sheet is usually free for pet ads, but people tend to want to believe that things will get better so often wait until the last minute when they are out of time and therefore often also out of options. I have seen people walk their pets or sit outside a market with them wearing a sign: ‘I need a home’ or ‘Will you take me home?’ with relative success. Networking with friends, neighbors and co-workers, or putting up signs at markets, at your veterinarian’s office, church, and on community boards and mailboxes are also great sources, as well as contacting local rescues and no kill shelters. Many pet sites also have message boards where you might find an adoptive parent or a foster family for your pet, giving you more time to find another solution.
I have also seen people negotiate with new landlords or network to find a place that will allow their pets to move with them, even though the listings originally said no. Getting a written reference from either a former landlord or neighbors is helpful and working through a realtor or leasing agent also usually ups your chances. Remember if you are going to rent, the owner pays their fee, not you.
Be creative! I recently came across someone who traded their car for an old camper by running an ad in the newspaper. It gave the family and the pets a crowded but temporary place to live and stay together. We are surrounded by community, sometimes our greatest failing is the fear or hesitance to ask for help.
Where there is a will… there is a way, and it starts with planning.
Marion Algier, Just One More Pet: http://justonemorepet.wordpress.com/ – dedicated to stopping cruelty to animals and unnecessary animal Euthanization through awareness. If you have the room and there is room in your heart, adopt just one more pet and stop the senseless killing.