This might be the perfect time to adopt a pet, just remember it's a long-term commitment, trainer says - InfoNews

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This might be the perfect time to adopt a pet, just remember it's a long-term commitment, trainer says

Image Credit: PEXELS
April 04, 2020 - 7:00 AM

Many of us are stuck at home right now and will be for at least another couple months. For those feeling lonely and a little blue, this may be the perfect time to adopt a new pet. 

"One of the benefits is the companionship," said Brad Pattison, a celebrity dog trainer from Kelowna and owner of Brad Pattison Animal Rescue. "It's through touch, it's through conversation… so there are many great contributions that a pet can bring to the household."

This contact and connection can be present in ways we don't consciously notice, such as the sound of paws padding across the floor or feeling a cat jump up on the couch behind you. All of these little subtle things contribute to wellbeing, said Pattison.

"There are so many positive benefits to that, where people have that companionship, they feel joy, they feel loved, they have that connection," he said. "It's something that's extremely powerful and it's one of the things that I learned first hand in Calgary taking dogs to senior care centres." 

Whenever Pattison brought his dogs into the centre, the seniors would light up. 

"Some of them were just over the moon because they actually had something to hold onto," Pattison said. "(With) the dog sitting on their lap, and then stroking the top of their head and down their back. It's quite powerful."

Having something fluffy and loving to snuggle during these stressful times may be the cabin fever remedy you've been looking for.

"For people that are going through this time of loneliness and solitude, having an animal there can certainly bring a lot of benefits," said Pattison.  

With more time at home, many have more time to train a puppy, or keep an eye on a kitten, than they would have before quarantine.

However, it's important to keep in mind that this pandemic won't last forever, and eventually everyone will return to their previous routines.

"People that are considering this time to get a pet, it’s actually ideal. Because they do have the time, they are home,” said Pattison. "But what is going to happen when people start going back to work?”

Once the pandemic is over and things go back to normal, the last thing rescue societies need is a massive influx of people dumping their animals, Pattison added.

“That’s what we see quite often. When there’s a terrible situation and things get back to some normalcy, then all of a sudden people are getting rid of pets because they don’t need the pets anymore.”

It’s important for prospective pet owners to look beyond the short-term, and assess what their lifestyle will look like down the road. As dogs or cats can live upwards of ten years, the decision to adopt an animal is not one to make lightly.

"If people are going to get a pet, then absolutely embrace it,” Pattison said. "People just need to know going into this, once they commit, this commitment is for the life of that animal."

Pattison also stressed the importance of adopting locally, as plenty of animals are in need of homes right here in B.C.

Currently, you can still adopt from the SPCA if you make an appointment to view the animal ahead of time, as they are no longer open for public walk-ins. For more information on how to adopt from the SPCA at this time, click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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