Weigh up pet care: SPCA

SPCA centre manager Ellen Andrews holds a kitten ready for adoption during Christmas week. PHOTO:...
SPCA centre manager Ellen Andrews holds a kitten ready for adoption during Christmas week. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
They may be cute and cuddly, but at SPCA Dunedin staff are reminding people that dogs, cats, rabbits — and even roosters— are not just for Christmas.

Centre manager Ellen Andrews expected the shelter to get busy in the coming weeks, with at least two or three litters of kittens usually coming through the doors over summer.

Regardless, SPCA Dunedin did not encourage giving pets as presents.

"We encourage people to really think about whether they are able to afford pet food, vet visits, pet insurance, and the investment of time that pets do need, before they get one."

Before diving into pet ownership, fostering rescue animals was a great option, she said.

"We always need foster carers for dogs, cats and rabbits—and it’s a great way to test out whether pet care is for you."

For those who were ready for a pet, there were some characters at the centre ready, or on their way to being ready, to be adopted.

Ace, a deaf dog housed at the Dunedin SPCA, lived up to his name with his ability to respond to non-verbal communication.

Ace was surrendered to Timaru SPCA before being relocated to Dunedin in order to benefit from the training of canine team leader Gemma Mitchell.

He would be available for adoption in the coming weeks, once he had mastered hand signals, Ms Andrews said.

In addition to the cats, dogs and rabbits who were staples at the centre, 11 roosters were available for adoption.

"If anyone has rural space, or a lifestyle block, these roosters are great for keeping a flock of hens happy."

For those that already had pets, Ms Andrews had some advice for the festive season and summer break.

"For dogs, it’s that old adage. Make sure you don’t let them eat rumballs, or chocolate. Don’t leave them in the car, and check the ground before you go for a walk if it’s a hot day. You can test the concrete with the back of your hand — that’s how it would feel on their paw pads."

For cats, the festive season brought different safety concerns.

"Watch out for Christmas lilies. Those can be toxic for cats, even if they just brush against them."

 - courtney.white@odt.co.nz

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