One of the most important points we did not get to address on the show is regarding the many advantages of adopting a bonded pair of animals. Just have a look at these wonderful animal pals that you've sent in to Martha's recent photo contests -- many of whom are adopted!
Shelters and rescue groups are seeing a huge increase in family pets being relinquished due to foreclosures and people moving. This results not only in bonds being broken between families and their companion animals, but also between animals who have grown up together and are bonded to one another. Often it is not just two pals coming in together but even three, four and more at times.
Can you even imagine if Francesca and Sharkey somehow ended up at a shelter and someone adopted only one of them without the other?! How heartbreaking and how much better they would each fare if able to stay together! No one should ever have to lose their BFF!
Adopting bonded pals is something I highly recommend. Each animal is less inclined to feel lonely, and you’re helping them to keep the companion(s) that would be highly traumatic for them to lose.
And remember, a bonded pair (or threesome, foursome…) can be made up of a variety of critters -- two cats, a dog and cat, a mama and her pup, two birds, a sibling pair, two bunnies, a dog and goat -- yup, you’d be amazed at the buddies that come in to shelters together. The list goes on and on. Many animals actually meet and become bonded at the shelter, so giving them a chance to stay with a new friend is important too!
If you think that that having two companion animals is always double the work, think again! Adopting a pair of pals can actually end up being less work: Many destructive behaviors are due to boredom or separation anxiety. A built-in playmate naturally provides the stimulation and security needed to reduce the potential for neurotic behaviors to develop. It can also alleviate concerns about leaving a companion animal alone while at work.
Adopting a pair can also teach important lessons to little humans! Having children take part in preserving the bond between two animals and witnessing the support they offer each other validates the importance of loyalty and cooperation -- especially through times of adversity and loss. It can also provide a natural way for families to discuss sibling relationships, or to address an only child's concern about a new sibling.
And the emotional and physical benefits of having a best bud are not reserved for humans alone. Studies actually show that animals bonded to one another live longer and healthier lives!
I would venture to guess that offering some furry soul mates the opportunity to stay together might also weigh in with some karmic benefits to boot.
Whatever the reason, it’s clearly a great option I’d like to see more adopters consider.
Dr. Pia Salk
*BFF = Best Friends Forever!