Pets are meant to be companion animals. Over thousands of years, pets have been selectively bred to depend on humans for sustenance, shelter, and love. Long periods of time in a cage or kennel are counter to how a dog or cat is supposed to live its life. While there is not a set “time limit” for adoptable pets, there will likely come a time when they begin exhibiting symptoms of chronic stress. These symptoms sometimes can worsen to the point where an animal shuts down and refuses to interact with people, eat or drink, groom, or sometimes even to stand up. Likewise, sometimes the chronic stress can manifest as aggression, or an animal may become hyper-territorial of its living space, refusing to allow volunteers or staff near it for cleaning, enrichment, or affection. They may begin to exhibit neuroses such as constant vocalization, spinning in circles, jumping off the walls, or turning their stress into the destruction of their bed, dishes, toys, or even hurting themselves. It’s undeniable that forcing them to continue an existence in that environment is cruel.
At the first sign chronic stress, we submit these pets to rescue groups who can rehabilitate them in a foster home. Sometimes we have a foster home available here. However, with the limited visibility of a foster pet, finding them a home could take months of bringing them to Showcase and Adoption Events. It’s very hard on the pet and it’s also very hard on our fosters to utilize them in such a way. What a stressed out pet needs more than anything in that situation is a home to call their own. Shuffling them from foster to foster or rescue to rescue isn’t in their best interest. At some point, euthanasia is the kindest thing a person can offer if no home is available.