May 16, 2022

See Gadget

See My Shiny New Pets?

Turtles and Hamsters and Bunnies, Oh My!

When you believe about adopting a canine, the initial put you pay a visit to may possibly be your area animal shelter if you’re in Alexandria, that would be the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA). If you are thinking of adding a cat to your family, the AWLA may possibly after once more be the to start with location you consider of. 

But what if you want to adopt a rabbit? Or a parakeet? Or a turtle, a ferret, a lizard, a chinchilla, a hamster, a mouse or even a hedgehog? 

Though the greater part of animals adopted at the AWLA are canine or cats, Smaller Animals (or SMAMs) make up 10 to 15 p.c of the animals who find new residences via the AWLA just about every calendar year. The treatment of every single of these smaller animals is unique, demanding exclusive tools, managing and even placement of the animal in the facility. 

For example, domestic turtles, which the AWLA see frequently, demand a tank significant enough to accommodate 10 gallons of water for just about every inch of their shell length for some of the larger pink-eared sliders who have been at the AWLA in the previous yr, this indicates a 90- or even 100-gallon household for every turtle. Most chilly-blooded animals, like snakes and lizards, want to be situated close to electrical stores that can ability warmth lamps and rocks for them to control and sustain their body temperatures. 

Little birds, on the other hand, like parakeets and budgies, favor a room in the AWLA’s neighborhood place it is normally quieter than other locations in the shelter and has a warm, steady airflow that these tropical animals require. 

Team customers pleasure them selves in being gurus in the distinct kinds of modest animals who go by the doors of the AWLA. Animal Care workers member Amanda Johnson enjoys some of the far more exotic mammals, like sugar gliders (a smaller nocturnal marsupial), as properly and rabbits and guinea pigs. In her time at the AWLA, staffer Jennifer Yang has come to be a turtle authority and is delighted to speak to anyone about the joys of terrapin companionship. 

This species-centered treatment continues as animals put together to head residence with their adoptive households. Ferrets and rabbits are spayed/neutered and microchipped just before they go household. Other animals might be sent property with most loved toys or treats. All animals have noticed the AWLA’s team veterinarian in the course of their keep, and every adopter gets extra info about exotic animal vets in the region. Notes about their veterinary evaluations, conduct and even health-related information are also reviewed with and provided to adopters to support established these animals up for achievement in their new houses. 

Certainly, adopters even receive information and facts on a smaller animal’s conduct when he or she was at the AWLA. Staff members associates and a dedicated cadre of volunteers consider the time to locate out what would make every single animal tick, delivering them with actions to enrich their remain and possibly even learn a handful of methods. Volunteer Terye Dame observed a freshly arrived turtle did not appear to be acting the way she was made use of to turtles behaving, so she enable workers know. When the veterinary crew examined the turtle, they understood that she was blind and made use of that information and facts to reconfigure her enclosure in a way that would be additional at ease to her. 

“It was astounding to feel I’d designed these kinds of an affect for her,” Dame remembers. But Dame’s very first SMAM experiences were being with rabbits, including a young black rabbit named Jojo. “Not all rabbits like this, but Jojo’s most loved factor was to be picked up and held like a toddler. I launched so a lot of volunteers — and likely adopters — to rabbits when they noticed him snuggling up like that. It is how he finally fulfilled his future family members.” 

Each adoptable animal is distinct and unique, but just about every is loving, intelligent and shows off his or her own individual identity. Animals like rats can be taught cues like “sit” and “fetch.” And AWLA turtles are on a regular basis taught focus on schooling to assist them interact extra confidently with humans. 

Adopter Cecelia Michalowski states her newly adopted hamster Boba is the fantastic pet for her condominium. “I invest a whole lot of time crafting toys and hideouts he can use and am generally searching at objects all around my household that I can remake for him. He’s so silly to just sit and observe perform, and extremely smooth to hold and cuddle with,” she shared. “I’ve been wanting a furry good friend for a although, and acquiring [Boba] was the ideal conclusion I have made.” 

So the upcoming time you’re all set to undertake a pet — of any kind — examine your nearby animal shelter to start with. Not only could you be surprised by the menagerie of animals readily available for adoption, but they can also present you with information and facts about their personalities, their history and even veterinary treatment. But most importantly, you will be altering two life: that of a homeless animal… and your have!

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

Jul. 06, 2021

10:42 a.m.