A friend for life

HOULTON, Maine — At the Houlton Humane Society, we take adopting the cats and dogs in our charge very seriously. 

We get to know our animals at the shelter and have a good idea in which environment they will do well. We work diligently to place our animals in the right home, so for that reason, we do not do adoptions on a first-come, first-serve basis.

We screen the adoptive parent(s) carefully to ensure they get the right pet for them and that the pet will be loved and cared for throughout their life. A pet is a living creature with feelings and needs. Caring for a pet is more involved than just loving it. 

A pet owner needs to feed, shelter, and maintain vet care. A pet is a lifetime commitment. Sadly, we too often encounter people who want to surrender their pet because of age, illness, or the pet has become aggressive or unmanageable.

For obvious reasons, our shelter can’t assume the financial burden for medical care or the legal liability for rehoming an aggressive animal. As all pet owners know, there comes a time in every pet’s life when its health declines or reaches a point where it can no longer enjoy a quality of life. As difficult as it may be, it is at this point that the pet owner needs to make the hard decisions. The humane thing we can do for our pet that gave unconditional love is to be there until the end.

Pet owners need to understand that the shelter is not a disposal site for unwanted pets. Nor are we a nursing home or a veterinary service. For obvious legal reasons, we can’t take in aggressive or dangerous dogs. We couldn’t adopt this animal out, and as a no-kill shelter, the animal would be at the shelter indefinitely. 

You shouldn’t be calling us when your pet requires medical care. We neither have the resources nor funds to provide vet care for your pet. Your pet is your responsibility, and you need to care for them. Call the service directly that can help your pet.

That said, the shelter staff are animal lovers and try to help where they can. In the last month, we did accept five owner-surrendered cats ranging in age from eight to 15 years old. Some were so thin due to dental issues and needing medical care. Some were so matted from neglect they could hardly walk because the mats were restricting their movement. 

The saddest thing is when we took these cats in to see the vet; they only needed basic medical care. Unfortunately, our society is prone to throwing away things that don’t work or are too much bother.

The point is, your pet is your responsibility. Your pet gives you unconditional love, so love them back and care for them.

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