A Second Chance At Life

Alexis Parker and Tyler Starr

    Finding a home for animals who have been abused or neglected is not an easy process and can require a lot of effort. It takes time, dedication, and hard work to get the animal physically and emotionally ready for a new home. Despite this, animals that have been put through extreme situations by careless owners deserve a second chance at life. “Society has already failed them at one point in time and someone needs to speak up and rescue those that are defenseless and without a voice,” stated the Animal House Shelter, an animal rescue group.

     Most animals who have been abused have “symptoms” that can be fixed; however, it may be difficult. For instance, an animal who was mistreated may be more submissive than others. An example of this would be when a dog is “rolling over with its tail tucked between its legs and is cowering or urinating while cowering,” as Allison Gray from the Animal House Shelter stated. Other signs of abuse are eating aggression, antisocial behavior, idiopathic fear, and separation anxiety. When dealing with different types of abuse signs, different protocols are called for. One example is if a dog is unusually submissive; scolding the dog will only make matters worse. Always correct and reward the dog when things are done correctly. This technique creates more confidence in the animal and helps to make them feel more safe. These tactics may work very well over time in some cases, but in others more serious measures need to be taken.

      Reaching the goal of getting animals in shelters and finding a permanent home is more complicated than it sounds. When an animal is abused or neglected, a shelter may not be the best place for them right away. Making sure the animal feels safe and loved is a very important element. A local Foster Care Leader, Jenny Bovio,  was happy to give some insight on the work she’s done to aid these animals in need. Jenny shared that she works with a foster group that takes in neglected and abused animals from Louisiana and Missouri. She described that once the animals arrive, they are in crates and Jenny, as well as others within the group, directly load the animals into an area of quarantine. The animals are quarantined for forty eight hours before they are brought to the foster house because they may carry disease or viruses that can be harmful to the Massachusetts area. Once the quarantine process is concluded, the animals are brought to a facility the size of a small house where they are prepped and nurtured to prepare to be placed in the loving care of a new owner. Jenny is in charge of this foster house as well as reaching out to appropriate families to adopt these animals. Similarly, as Jenny Bovio stated, “When finding a foster home for a dog, we make sure that the dog’s needs come before the needs of the individuals.” Jenny is accompanied by a small staff that includes caring high school students and veterinary professionals. When looking for a home for these recovering pets, Jenny makes sure that the breed of animal is suitable for that family’s living arrangements. For example, if a family is looking to take in an active dog then the foster house will make sure the family has a large yard and time on their hands to play with the dog. Finally, the family adopting the animal will come to the foster house and have some one on one time with the pet to make sure they are compatible. Due to this, foster homes have proven to be very suitable for these types of animals.

    Certain techniques are used within the foster house to rehabilitate the new animals mentally. They allow the animals to be in a relaxed environment while getting all of the love and care needed. It is important to make sure the household is not chaotic, but rather soothing. Also, giving the animal space is the key to success; constantly approaching the animal could increase their fear. However, if the animal approaches you first, interaction is okay and eventually this practice will create trust. Also, body language is a very important way to create a safe environment. For example, towering over a dog or beginning to place your hand over a dog’s head can frighten them. This is because the dog may feel like you have all of the power over them which is not a good thing. They are also able to understand what love is.

     Many animals are left in the world with nobody to turn to. They need someone to love and protect them. Helping animals that were abused or neglected is a hard task, but luckily some individuals are up for the challenge.

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