|To better understand the outcomes of companion animal adoptions, Bardsley & Neidhart Inc. conducted a series of 3 surveys over a 1-year period with dog and cat owners who had adopted their pet through either a (a) Luv-A-Pet location, (b) Adopt-a-thon, or (c) traditional shelter.
This article suggests opportunities to improve owners` perceptions of their pets and the adoption process through (a) providing more information before adoption about pet health and behaviors, (b) providing counseling to potential adopters to place pets appropriately, and (c) educating adopters to promote companion animal health and retention.
Results demonstrate that the pet`s relationship to the family unit, such as where the pet sleeps and how much time is spent with the pet, is related to the amount of veterinary care the companion animal receives, and to long-term retention.
Satisfaction and retention are attributed to the pet`s personality, compatibility, and behavior, rather than demographic differences among adopters or between adoption settings.
The age of the companion animal at adoption, the intended recipient, and presence of children in the home also play a role.
Health problems were an issue initially for half of all adopted pets, but most were resolved within 12 months.
Roughly one fourth of adopters who no longer have their companion animal said their pet died. Characteristics of pets that died support the contention that spaying and neutering profoundly affects a companion animal`s life span.
Although retention is similar for dogs and cats, mortality is higher among cats in the first year after adoption.
Source: Neidhart L, Boyd R. (2002): Companion animal adoption study. In: J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2002;5(3):175-92.
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