A common phrase often thrown around is stating that dogs are “a man’s best friend,” but how do these connections between humans and pets start? How do these furry friends end up as people’s best companions? One of the most common and best ways of obtaining a new pet is adoption, typically from other people, shelters or rescue organizations. Adoption has been praised for being an effective method of gaining a new pet into your life in every aspect. From being more cost-friendly and decreasing shelter overpopulation to benefiting animals facing certain challenging circumstances. But, don’t just take it from us, hear two stories about adoption successes from fellow students today!
Anya, a grade eleven high school student from Oakville, has always loved cats throughout her childhood and adored having a cat companion herself. Through adoption, she met Mickey. Mickey is a one-and-a-half-year-old cat whose breed is unspecified, but Anya supposes she’s a long hair tabby. Damian is another grade eleven high school student who plays baseball and enjoys being active. Someone who accompanies his activeness is Pepper, a seven-year-old black labrador who his family adopted. Pepper came into Damian’s family from the United States through a rescue agency at a mere four weeks old. Anya and Damian both took time to gush about the connection with their pet and explain the adoption and post-adoption process.
Both Anya and Damian recall getting introduced to adopting from a close friend or family member. One of Anya’s close friends recently adopted bunnies and passionately remarked that “it was a great idea.” For Damian, his father was the person that introduced adoption as a viable method of getting a new animal addition to their home. His father had friends that worked or owned rescue agencies who helped Damian and his family become more aware of adopting. What intrigued Damian and his family was the kind nature of adoption after learning that “adopting was a more humane and better process than purchasing from a breeder.” Additionally, Damian said that his family unanimously agreed that adoption was the ideal method of getting a new pet as “we would rather save an animal who has had a rough life rather than hire a person to breed a dog of our liking.” Before adopting Pepper, Damian’s family also had a few cats coming from rescue agencies via his father’s connections, making them no strangers to adoption. Anya had a similar reason for choosing to adopt as she stated, “I had heard the saying ‘adopt don’t shop’ often and I thought it would be a better idea to adopt a pet in need of a loving home rather than buy from a breeder.”
Although many people may be aware of adoption’s benefits, some people lack knowledge of the adoption process. Some misconceptions around this process can be that it’s complex or lengthy but, in reality, it’s quite straightforward and simple, at least within Oakville. Mickey was adopted in the Oakville area and Anya broke down her experience of adopting her four-legged best friend. First came research and finding a suitable shelter and pet. After discovering an appropriate shelter, Anya spent time scouring their website for crucial information and pet details. Eventually, She read about Mickey and decided to contact the shelter about her to inquire further, eager to bring Mickey home. After contacting, Anya and her family scheduled a couple of visits with the shelter to visit Mickey in person. Graciously, the shelter quickly arranged an interview with Anya’s family to ensure they were fit for Mickey’s needs and could adequately provide Mickey with the loving home she deserved. Two other families also wanted Mickey to be a new addition to their family, but the shelter decided that Anya’s family was her best fit and selected them to be Mickey’s forever family! Ever since then, Mickey fully merged into Anya’s family and became an inseparable member.
Considering the circumstances that put many animals into shelters, the bonding process after adoption is crucial to getting them comfortable with their new family and environment. Without careful, patient and loving integration, these pets may become retraumatized or untrusting in their surroundings. For both parties, their adopted pets were very young when they welcomed them into their home, making it a bit easier to get them familiar with their new family. Fortunately, Pepper didn’t face abuse or harm previously but, Damian claims that “[Pepper] came from an environment that made that scenario a likely future.” According to Damian, Pepper was hesitant to bond with her new family members at first, most likely due to her previous environment. But, with compassion and gentleness from Damian’s family, she became very easy to bond with and growing comfortable quickly. For Mickey, she was found by the shelter tragically abandoned at a few weeks old, painfully separated from her mom and other cat siblings. Despite this cold-hearted discovery, Anya reminisces that Mickey was not afraid of humans and that, “integrating her into our home was quite easy.” In order to not shock Mickey too drastically, Anya kept her in her bedroom for around a week to get accustomed to the new smells and surroundings before Mickey roamed the house. Like Pepper, Mickey was also hesitant to interact and Anya recalled her being “quite shy and timid” when she first arrived. “It took her a couple of days to get comfortable being around me. She hid under the bed and in her crate a lot” said Anya. After some time, Mickey became more relaxed and used to the smells of this big, new world. It took no time before Mickey started whining for pats, gently falling asleep in Anya’s lap and exploring the halls. Anya fondly comments on their early relationship saying, “We bonded pretty instantly, she knows how to steal hearts.”
Currently, both students have an outstanding relationship with their furry friends and couldn’t be happier with their adoption decision. Anya always finds Mickey sleeping in her bed beside her, enjoying the warmth of her shirt. The first time Anya travelled without Mickey after her adoption, Mickey missed her so much that she had diarrhea for the day Anya was gone. When Anya returned, Mickey happily welcomed her home and immediately snuggled for hours. To this day, whenever Anya travels, their deep connection makes separation an ache in both of their hearts. Damian discusses the relationship he and Pepper hold, specifically recalling that she’s the closest with him and his mother. Every day, Damian sets aside an hour to walk Pepper through their neighbourhood. Pepper looks forward to this routine and actively recognizes when Damian prepares for this walk. He further remarks that “as a result [of everyday walks] we are very close.” Both Anya and Damian highly recommend adoption for anyone wanting a pet due to their positive experiences. Anya states, “I think adopting a pet is a great idea for those looking for a new addition to the family. Providing a home for pets in need is necessary and they are so sweet.” The love their pets bring to their families couldn’t be replicated and adoption is what brought them the companionship of their pet, for which both students are forever thankful.
If the stories of Mickey and Pepper convinced you of the magic of adoption, then there’s an excellent opportunity for you to spread adoption awareness! The YGPOakville, in collaboration with White Oaks’ Animal Rights Club, the Oakville Public Library, and the Oakville and Milton Humane Society, is currently hosting a brochure design contest to encourage more individuals to partake in adoption like Anya and Damian! Submit your brochure by May 29th at 11:59 PM with a chance to have your design featured at the Oakville Public Library and win a $50 gift card to Oakville Place. Use your creativity for the better and get designing now! For additional details, check out our Instagram: @ygpoakville, or submit directly in this form. We are ecstatic to see what you come up with!
* To preserve anonymity, Anya and Damian are replacement names for the interviewees’ real names.