Returning a recently adopted companion animal: adopters' reasons for and reactions to the failed adoption experience
Shore, Elsie R.
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Journal of applied animal welfare science : JAAWS. 2005; 8(3): 187-98.
The return of a recently adopted companion animal places the nonhuman animal in jeopardy and may be painful and frustrating to the humans involved. However, if returners learn from the failed adoption experience, future adoptions may be more satisfactory for all concerned. In this study, 78 people who had adopted and returned dogs or cats to an animal shelter in a U.S. Midwestern city were interviewed regarding their reasons for return, reactions to the experience, and plans for future adoptions. Although some returners adjusted their pet ownership plans in potentially beneficial ways, most reacted by counseling greater forethought and planning before adopting. The last, although sound advice, had little to do with reasons for return, which primarily were problems that arose postadoption: pet behavior such as not getting along with other pets or children. Changing expectations about the development of new pet-family relationships and the provision of postadoption services might help adopters tolerate the adjustment period and handle problems without resorting to returning the animal.
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