To have and to hold…and accept. Holistic pet adoption.

As much as it is thrown around these days, the buzzword ‘holistic’ has a very specific meaning.  Websters says it is in relation to the whole, both physically and psychologically, rather than the analysis, treatment or dissection of the separate parts.  This applies not only to health and medical treatment but to the way an animal acts, the cause and effect of their mental state and why they have triggers just like humans do.

Kleiner and Harley both had a rough start in life. Both were dog aggressive. Now they're best buddies.

When we get married, ideally people say that you should love and embrace your partner, flaws and all, and be prepared to live with them til death just the way they are the day you marry, rather than unrealistically think that once the wedding band is slipped on their finger, they will miraculously change to be the perfect mate.  I’m pretty sure that rarely if ever happens and those who go into a relationship with that expectation usually wind up in divorce court.

The same is true with pet adoption.  First and foremost, animals which you will find in rescue and shelters are going to have issues.  Just accept it and move on to the part where you offer them a loving and safe home to spend the rest of their days.  We can offer them food, shelter, love and reassurance.  We can provide guidance and have a behaviorist come to our home to give us insight into what we can do to make them better members of society.  But we CANNOT assume that we can change a dog who has lived on the street or been isolated in a yard on a chain for most or all of his/her life.  We have to be willing to accept them the way they are and accommodate their fears and idiosyncrasies.

So what I’m saying here is, if you know the dog you adopted is food aggressive or has a history of resource guarding, if you don’t think you can live with that and accommodate them accordingly, don’t adopt them.  If your adopted dog is fearful and not comfortable around other dogs, DON’T take him/her to the dog park.  It’s not rocket science and your new adopted friend will appreciate the thought and consideration you have put into their well-being, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Holistically.

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