The Challenges of Re-homing a Traumatised Pet
In the UK today, thousands of homeowners and tenants have a house pet, usually a cat or a dog, in order to have some animal companionship in the home. Unfortunately, many individuals are not the ideal pet owner and do not care for the pets properly. In fact, numerous abuse cases surface every year and many times an animal rescue becomes necessary in order to save the cat or dog’s life. Hundreds of pets are rescued and placed in protective and caring animal shelters all the time.
As a result of the exemplary jobs that these shelters perform day in and day out, many abused cats and dogs now live in good homes where caring and loving owners provide for them properly. Having your pet questions answered free is a rarity, so take advantage and ask as many questions as you can think of prior to re-homing your animal.
Speaking from personal experience, I can safely tell you that bringing home an abused pet from a shelter takes a little more patience and work than bringing one home from a breeder or a pet store. One of the first things that people fail to realise is that even though a cat or dog heals from physical abuse, the emotional and mental scars run deep.
When I brought home Red Dog, my female Lab/Retriever mix, she knew that she had come to a loving home. As I mentioned above, the physical scars were almost gone, but I soon learned that there were emotional and mental issues to deal with. The signs of her having been abused quickly surfaced and I knew that I would have to handle her and care for her differently from other pets that I have had in the home. That is the first thing that I tell every new pet owner when they bring an abused animal home, namely to expect the unexpected where abnormal behaviour is concerned.
In some instances, Red would run in fear if I needed to raise my voice or if a loud noise occurred either inside or outside my home. Another issue to contend with was lightning and thunder during storms. She would literally find a dark corner or hiding place to curl up in and tremble in fear until the storm past. What I learned from this experience was that she found a favourite spot in my bedroom closet where she wasn’t visible, so I would always keep one of the doors open so that she could escape at any time should she feel the need to do so.
The thing you want to be aware of is that re-homing a traumatised pet takes work. You have to be patient while giving them as much love as you can muster. Although Red Dog still has her moments, she has adjusted well. She still runs and hides like she used to, just not as frequently as she has integrated into the home rather well.
Rose Michaels has been writing articles regarding the proper care of pets and working directly with animal shelters for several years now. She has provided advice and tips to thousands of pet owners regarding the care, feeding, and handling of cats and dogs, answering readers’ on a daily basis. Additionally, she has conducted numerous seminars in order to educate new pet owners throughout the UK.