The Adopted Animal's Bill of Rights

Animal rights deserve as much consideration as ours.

Pets aren't a plaything meant purely for your amusement.

If you adopt a dog or cat, they deserve to be treated like family.

Would you tie your son or daughter to a tree and fail to feed them in a timely fashion?

I hope not. That would be inconsiderate. And it's equally wrong to neglect a pet so severely.

To help you become the best pet owner you can be, I drafted the Adopted Animal's Bill of Rights.

I. Perfection may not be expected of any new pet.

You wouldn't expect a newborn baby to know the alphabet. Cut your fur baby some slack.

Babies aren't born with an ability to talk, do math, tie their shoes, or eat without making a mess.

You have to patiently teach and nurture a child until they blossom into a fully capable human being.

Some pets don't know they're supposed to go potty outside. They might not even know pillows aren't food.

You've gotta show them the rules of your home with strategies such as crate training and positive reinforcement.

If you lack the time or ability to effectively train your dog, find a local dog trainer or obedience school for assistance.

II. Pets may not be blamed for a person's actions.

Animals will tell you when their boundaries are violated. If you don't listen, it's your fault.

Here's a common story I hear at the animal shelter where I volunteer.

A dog gets returned for biting somebody. But the bite was provoked by a person.

99.9% of dogs don't attack without warning. They growl, tense up, or stiffen their body.

These are clear signs the dog feels threatened. If you see this behavior, stop what you're doing.

Some pets don't like to be picked up. Others don't like to be hugged. Their boundaries should be respected.

Even if you bring the pet back, admit your role in the situation, or they'll be placed on a "bite hold" for no good reason.

III. You may not purchase a pet you cannot afford.

You're a grown adult. Don't adopt a pet unless you can care and provide for them financially.

Most people underestimate the cost of owning a dog.

It's not $25 or $50 per month. The true monthly total is closer to $150.

This accounts for food, treats, medicine, dookie bags, and the occasional toy.

The cost of cat ownership is similar. Food, kitty litter, and scratching posts aren't free. Be ready for these costs.

There's a reason animal shelters require a pet adoption fee. It's not just to spay and neuter, although that's included.

They're testing you. If you can't afford to pay $50-60 to adopt a dog or cat, why should they think you can afford to care for them?

Of course, there are exceptions. Nobody expects a $1,000 vet bill. If you find yourself in a tough spot, here are some sources of relief.

IV. A pet's comfort and safety must be prioritized.

Pay attention to signs your pet is troubled. They comfort you everyday, so return the favor.

I'm writing this on the Fourth of July. Great celebration, but it's a dangerous day for animals.

More pets go missing on this holiday weekend than any other time of year, so you better be prepared.

Microchips only cost $50. Get it done just to be safe. Call it a cheap insurance policy. Well worth the peace of mind!

You can also keep your pets in a confined space such as the bathroom, love on them more than usual, and turn up some soothing music.

Since certain idiots treat the 4th as an excuse to blow stuff up for a month, consider investing in a thunder shirt that will provide constant comfort to your pup.

Animal experts also suggest dogs can be desensitized to loud noises in general. That said, you must be careful as the wrong approach will make the problem worse.

These two articles (note: they open in new tabs as usual) seem to provide good advice on the subject. There's also an FDA approved anxiety medication for dogs, but consult your veterinarian first.

In general, think about ways to make your pet more comfortable and safe everyday. It could be as simple as a cozy dog bed or cat tree for feline climbing enthusiasts.

Or it could be as complex as escape-proofing your home to reduce the odds of your pet ever getting loose. Paw Boost is there, but do your best to never need it.

The Fourth. Four amendments of animal rights. Feels like a good place to stop.

If you believe animal rights should be prioritized, share this post on Facebook or Twitter.

If you're new, click here to read a personal introduction from Daniel Wallen and discover why he's addicted to dogs.

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