RSPCA Pet Adoption Week

Posted on: 29 November 2007 by Gareth Hargreaves

Nine thousand 'lonely hearts' need loving homes.

As the RSPCA's first Pet Adoption Week takes place, from Saturday 20th to Sunday 28th October 2007, 9,000 animals in the Society's care are in need of good new homes. This coincides with new research showing people look for the same qualities in both pets and partners.

According to the light-hearted poll, most people consider personality to be the most important characteristic in both pets and partners. Sadly the RSPCA can't help people find a partner - but it could match them with their ideal pet!

Andy Foxcroft, chief officer for the RSPCA inspectorate and the man in charge of the team who rescue and collect so many of these animals, says, "We have thousands of animals looking for new homes through no fault of their own. Adopting an animal from the RSPCA will give one of these lonely hearts a much-needed second chance - and you will be able to enjoy the wonderful feeling of knowing you've given a special home to an animal that really needs it."

During RSPCA Pet Adoption Week (PAW), anyone thinking of getting a pet is encouraged to go to their nearest RSPCA animal centre or branch where they will be advised on which pet could be best for them. The Society will take into account everything that both you and the animal need to give you the best chance of a perfect partnership.

Some people look like their pets - or so the theory goes - and the RSPCA's research reveals there may also be similarities between our pets and partners. According to the poll, people want both to be good company, loyal, intelligent and to show affection.

It's good to hear that keeping pets can help fulfill their owners' emotional needs, but it may also explain why relationships with animals are sometimes unsuccessful. The survey suggests that sometimes people consider their own needs before their pets' - for example, most people didn't select the amount of exercise an animal needs as a characteristic they would value highly in a pet.

"The survey is a bit of fun, but it also carries a serious message," explains Andy Foxcroft. "Keeping a pet can be rewarding, but it’s vital to be aware of how much time and effort you will have to dedicate to it.

"The fact that most people don't value the amount of exercise an animal needs as an important characteristic might help explain why many owners say their animals are too energetic when handing them over to the RSPCA. I've got two adopted dogs myself so I know how important it is to give them regular exercise - they simply won't let me get away with missing out on walks!

"It's important to remember that if a relationship with a partner fails, they have the option of finding a different companion - but if you can no longer look after your pet, that animal is reliant on you to give them a chance of a loving new owner."

Surprisingly, considering the large number of unwanted pets in RSPCA animal centres, the survey shows that people rate long-term companionship more highly in a pet than in a partner.

Size is also considered more important in pets - encouraging news as this shows people understand that larger animals can need more space in which to run around.

For an information pack about adopting an animal from the RSPCA, people should call the dedicated PAW phone line on 0300 123 8484, or they can find out more by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/petadoptionweek.

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