Triad Happy Tails Magazine

Page 8

n Cover Story

Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue Network “Exotics” - The Other Family Pet!


By Courtney Kent


he word “exotic” to most people can mean rare or uncommon. However, in the animal rescuers’ world exotic pets abandoned or surrendered by their owners are quickly becoming today’s “norm”. Exotic pets can be classified as many different species but to most rescue groups, shelters and veterinarians it simply refers to any companion animal other than dogs, cats or domesticated farm animals. According to the North Carolina Public Animal Shelter Report over 3,000 exotic pets were taken to local animal shelters in 2011. This report does not include those surrendered to local non-profit or rescue groups or those “released” and abandoned into the wild. These animals are domesticated pets and cannot survive on their own. Exotic by definition means from another part of the world or foreign. These pets are not used

to our climate and region, nor do they contain the knowledge and skills of how to find shelter and food sources. Why a person would need to surrender or abandon their exotic pet occurs for multiple reasons. The most common occurrence is due to lack of education and unrealistic expectations of what it takes to care for the pet. Most of these pets are originally acquired as an impulse purchase or chosen on a whim. The original owner may have failed to complete appropriate research on special habitat and diet requirements, cost of pet maintenance and veterinary care or they lacked consideration of the amount of daily time needed to care for the pet. Exotic pets are often advertised in pet stores, online and in classifieds as great “first-time pets” and great “pets for children”. While this is very true, parents deciding on getting a pet for a child must have a full understanding of

Ms. Parker 8

February 2013

the responsibility and commitment that goes along with that decision. Exotics make exceptional pets! Growing up with pets can be a great learning experience, provide a child with unconditional love and teach valuable lessons on responsibility. While an exotic pet can provide children with a great sense of responsibility, they should never be considered the sole caregiver. Parents need to also acknowledge the possibility of what will happen when the kid’s excitement over the new pet has worn off. Some exotics pets can live a very long time. Some of these pets may even live in your home for years after your children have moved out and on to college and into their own homes. Some Common Exotic Pets Rabbits – Life span: 8 to 12 years. These mammals are very social pets and

Ginger & Maryanne

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