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Keep your furry friend happy during Pet Awareness Month

Valerie Herrera
The Humane Society of El Paso is spreading Pet Awareness during the month of February.

February is Responsible Pet Ownership Month. This month will celebrate all pet owners who are responsible and are serious about taking care of their pets.  It’s also a great way for pet owners to step back and take a look at how they are doing.

During this month, people are encouraged to pass the importance of being a responsible pet owner on to others and educate the public about how to be responsible for the sake of their pets’ well-being.

Including a pet in your family can be a large responsibility, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.

Every year millions of dogs and cats end up in shelters for a number of reasons most usually associated with the pet owner not being aware of how to care for their pet properly.

“Not all animals are the same and have emotions, so the more you work with animals the more you get to recognize and see each one as a unique personality with different needs,” said Betty Hoover, executive director of the Humane Society of El Paso

Hoover said people should consider adopting a pet almost the same as adopting a child because the animal will be a new addition to the family.

“Being a responsible pet owner is much more than just providing adequate water, food and shelter for your pet, it is a lifetime commitment,” Hoover said.

Pet owners are quite often not prepared for pet ownership and all that it entails when adopting a pet. Pet abandonment leads to overcrowding of animal shelters, animal abuse and the unnecessary death of innocent animals.

“When animals are trained and cared for properly, they are less likely to be given up to a shelter,” Hoover said.

Providing for your pets’ physical needs and caring for them with love are the first requirements of responsible pet owners, but these are not the only requirements.

Many pet owners have a busy lifestyle and tend to live within a boundary system set up of social standards and often don’t take the time to notice the signs in their pet’s behavior.

For most people owning a pet is considered a privilege and results in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Gerardo Reyes, senior mechanical engineering major, owns a 6-year-old boxer named Ticho. Reyes said pet owners need to be attentive to notice their behavior because they can’t communicate.

“I raised my boxer since he was two months old and he is truly my best friend. I consider pet responsibility like taking care of your own son or daughter,” Reyes said. “They are defenseless beings and really depend on us just as an infant would.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, animal cruelty laws and regulations are set up by municipalities, cities or counties and can vary widely from state to state.

“It is a requirement in El Paso to get a domestic animal micro-chipped whether it’s a cat, dog, rabbit or a ferret. It is also important to provide adequate food and shelter for the animal especially during the hot summer and cold winter days,” Hoover said. “There are also chain and tethering regulations in the city.”

Hoover said pets show signs in their behavior, their water consumption, their eating habits and activity, so as caring and concerned pet parents, these signs must be sought everywhere.

“Another way of contributing to responsible pet ownership, even if you yourself don’t own a pet, if you see an animal that is not being treated properly, you need to report it to authorities so that they can look into it and ensure that the animal is removed from the situation,” Hoover said.

The benefits of pet ownership do come with obligations, so it is important to stay informed on current tips to educate yourself about how to care for your pet.

Rene Miranda, sophomore mechanical engineering major, owns two dogs and a goldfish and said it is important for pet owners to be  informed about the responsibly of owning a pet before they get one.

“They are completely dependent on us for their welfare and it is important,” Miranda said.

Hoover said that animals may go through depressing times and hurt and cry just like human beings do because they have been separated from their family and most often will shut down without any interaction.

“We’ve experienced a number of reasons why people want to return their animals such as they are moving or the animal is too fragile,” Hoover said. “Which is why we always offer adoption counseling and parental guidance for first-time pet owners as well as other services to parents who have questions.”

For more information, contact the El Paso Humane Society at 915-532-6971.

Valerie Herrera may be reached at [email protected].

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Keep your furry friend happy during Pet Awareness Month