For any animal lover, seeing a stray animal in your neighborhood can pull at the heartstrings. Much like people, each animal has its own background and story. Every animal companion should have a home, but for many people, providing that home isn’t as easy as it sounds. According to the ASPCA, an estimated 6.5 million pets are left at shelters in the U.S. every year. If you’ve found a stray, follow these steps in order to keep its best interests at heart.
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Look Online for Missing Pets
Once you’ve safely captured the animal, you should first try to find out if someone is looking for it. These days, most lost pet listings can be found online. Many areas have local websites where people can post about lost or missing pets. This is an easy way to be sure you’re finding the animal’s rightful owner. If you are able to get ahold of the pet’s owners, you’ll be left with the satisfaction of reuniting a family.
Spread the Word
If you are unable to find an existing listing for your new stray friend, then you should create one yourself. Social media websites can be a great place to start. By posting a photo and description of the animal and asking your friends to share, you may be able to find the owners faster than you think. You can also go the old-fashioned route by putting up flyers around your neighborhood. If the pet’s owners are out there and looking, you should be contacted rather quickly.
Find a No-Kill Shelter
Every animal has different circumstances, and the stray you’ve found simply may not have owners who are looking for it. Whether you have the means to care for the animal or not, there are things you can do to help. If you decide you are unable to care for the pet, look for a no-kill shelter in your area. These shelters tend to be more humane towards animals and do not practice euthanization. You can leave the animal here and know that a loving family will be along soon to scoop it up and love it forever.
Welcome Them Into Your Family
After you’ve exhausted all your options, you may choose to make the stray a member of your own family. It’s easy to bond with an animal while you’re trying to find its owners, so it’s not uncommon for someone to want to keep the animal in the end. Remember, becoming a new pet owner brings its own hoard of responsibilities. Your first stop should be your local vet, where your new pet can receive a thorough checkup and a round of vaccinations. Look for an all-inclusive vet, like Healthy Paws Veterinary Hospital & Housecalls, that also offers boarding and grooming for an even better experience.
Helping a stray can be a fulfilling experience for both you and the animal. Some of us may have the means to keep the pet, but many of us do not. No matter what your situation is, there’s always something you can do to help an animal in need.