This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue
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Tips for Adopting Non-Traditional Rescues
Dogs and cats are common household pets, but they are not the only animals that can offer companionship. Though they may be the most common animals you’ll see at a rescue, there
are plenty of non-traditional rescues in need of homes as well. Reptiles, fish, exotic birds, small
animals, ducks, horses, pigs, and even goats often find themselves at an animal rescue for one
reason or another. Though all animals, even cats and dogs, require potential adopters to do
their research before committing to a lifelong companion, non-traditional pets may need a bit
more research than the norm. Many of these non-traditional rescues entail special care, large
spaces, lots of socialization, patience, and a specific kind of family to take them in. If you are
considering adopting a non-traditional rescue animal, here are some ways to make sure you’re
the right fit.
Do Your Research
Many pets are a lot more work than you might think, which is why it’s always important to do
your research before adopting any animal. Adopting a non-traditional rescue often carries a lot
more unknowns. Reptiles, for instance, typically need a special terrarium and heat sources.
Before adopting a bird, do your research to ensure you’re ready for the commitment; not only
are they highly social, some species live for 50 years or more! Rodents may seem like an easy
non-traditional pet, but rats often do best with a companion rat and need a lot of socialization.
Horses require a lot more exercise with find out this here, food, and space than most other animals. Before adopting a
non-traditional animal, do your research so you know exactly what that animal will need and if
you are the right fit.
Make Sure You Have the Space
Farm animals, especially, will need a pretty specific type of person to adopt them. Even smaller
farm animals may require a smaller type of barn or building to keep them sheltered from the
elements and provide a feeling of safety. Chickens need a coop, pigs and goats need a shelter,
ducks need water and shelter, and horses need room to exercise. Inside your home, ferrets or
rabbits need a slightly larger cage than your average hamster or mouse will. Large birds should
have a much larger cage than you might see a parakeet live in. Having a realistic understanding
of the space a non-traditional rescue will need will help you to decide if adopting them is the
best choice for them and your family.
Be Open to Learning
Just because you’ve never cared for a non-traditional pet doesn’t mean you can’t adopt one, it
just means you have to be open to learning. Speaking to the shelter care staff, finding a
veterinarian who treats non-traditional pets, and doing research yourself can give you the
capability to care for a non-traditional rescue. It’s important to realize you’re not only caring for a special type of animal, but you’re also caring for one in need of a rescue, which can carry its own difficulties. However,just because an animal is a rescue doesn’t mean it’s dangerous or unfit to be a pet, it just may demand special attention and patience. Many rescues would gladly assist you in your quest to learn more about the animal and how to care for it before adopting. In fact, that’s a requirement for many of them, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from them.
Understand the Extra Expenses
Every animal carries with it it’s own added expenses for your home, but some non-traditional
pets may be more expensive than you realize. According to a horse ownership survey
conducted by the University of Maine, the average monthly expense of horse ownership is between $200 and $325. This includes food, veterinary care, general maintenance, boarding, and additional expenses. Though a horse is on the high side of non-traditional pet ownership, but it’s still helpful to research the extra costs of owning any non-traditional animal and if it’s something you can afford long term. It’s also harder to find a vet that can care for a non-traditional pet, though not impossible. It may just require you to reevaluate your household budget to be sure you can take on the extra expenses.
Is Your Family the Right Fit?
It’s not just knowledge, home size, and finances that decide if a home is the right fit for a non-
traditional pet, it’s also about family dynamic and lifestyle. For instance, a family who travels a
lot may not want a pet that requires a lot of socialization and attention. Believe it or not, even
small rodents like attention and love from their owners. For large animals, it may be expensive
to find care for them when you’re gone. Birds may be difficult for families with small children who don’t understand boundaries with animals quite yet. A family who is already busy may not
appreciate the added chores that come with owning a goat, chickens, or other farm animals.
Make sure that both you and your whole family are the right fit before adopting a non-traditional animal.
Cats and dogs offer love and companionship for a family, but many non-traditional rescues can
do the same. Birds, sugar gliders, horses, lizards, and even fish can provide a family with more
love and companionship. Plenty of these animals are surrendered because their previous
owners didn’t fully understand the responsibility and demands of a non-traditional pet, so it’s
important not to repeat that mistake and adopt a non-traditional rescue without doing your
research first. Find the animal that’s right for you, but also ensure you’re right for that animal.
Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.