Why You Can’t Rehome Your Pet At My Farm
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A farm is the perfect place to rehome your pet that isn’t working out, right?
“Can you take my cat? He’s not getting along with his housemates.”
“I was hoping you had room for another rooster. We need to get rid of this one because of his attitude…”
“Want another dog? He’s really nice but has too much energy for the city.”
Farmer Joe and Jane love animals, but there are actually several possible reasons they can’t rehome your pet.
1) You can’t rehome your pet at my farm because you’re the (fill in the number) person to ask this month.
If farm folk took in every animal offered to them, authorities would be showing up to clean house! Farmer Joe and Jane are flattered that you think their farm is an beautiful sanctuary where four leggeds run free in peace and love, but farm life is not a Disney movie. Have you considered…
2) You can’t rehome your pet at my farm because your pet has never been outside.
Fluffy may love to sit in the window and watch songbirds at the feeder, but that doesn’t mean Fluffy has what it takes to live beside them.
Has your dog been in a climate controlled environment their entire life? Is your cat de-clawed? Have they been the lone animal at your place as long as you’ve had them? Good luck surviving the wild. Is your pet neutered/spayed? Farmer Joe and Jane probably don’t have time to take care of (and find homes for!) another batch of kittens/puppies. Does your dog have a rabies shot? Because, you know…raccoons. Skunks. Things that creep in the night.
3) The farm is not the best place to rehome your pet because…predators
The country is great. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, peace and quiet. There are also coyotes, fox, bear, bobcat, woodchucks, opossum, skunks, mink, raccoons, etc., and they’re all looking for an easy snack…or a fight. When your animal doesn’t work out at the farm and wanders off, it’s going to meet something wild.
In my experience, the meeting never ends well for the non-wild participant.
4) Farm machinery and pets don’t mix. This isn’t the best place to rehome your pet.
“I can’t put him outside because we live on a busy road.”
You might live on a road with more traffic, but Farmer Joe and Jane are surrounded by fields. On the subject of farm machinery, a smack to the head from a car is a far more humane death than what cats or other animals meet when confronted with any number of the implements being dragged through the field.
5) Let’s be honest. Is the reason you want to rehome your pet because it’s naughty?
This often comes as “my cat is marking on stuff in our house” or “my dog really needs space to run” or “the rooster doesn’t get along with our flock…but maybe he’d like your flock better.”
Listen, Farmer Joe and Jane are animal lovers—after all, they live on a farm—but what you’re basically saying to them is “please take care of my problem animal”.
6) You can’t rehome your pet here. Have you seen how many animals we already care for?
“But don’t you need another cat? I’m sure she’d make a really great mouser…”
Farmer Joe and Jane know all about rodents. They have a few cats that live in their barn that do a great job keeping up on their rodent population. The odd thing is, they don’t see a lot of stray cats showing up at their farm. Know why?
Farmer Joe and Jane’s cats chase the strays off.
Your cat is spraying because it’s territorial? Farmer Joe and Jane’s cats will fight yours until it leaves to find another home.
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Cats aren’t the only snarky animals. Chickens don’t usually just welcome a new feathered friend into their flock, regardless of how “sweet” the bird is. It can be especially difficult to integrate a rooster (especially if there is already one on the farm).
Goats and other herd animals aren’t always receptive to letting a newbie in. If they do, it usually takes time and a bit of supervision.
What some people want to do is drop off their animal and be free and clear. What they’re asking Farmer Joe and Jane to do is supervise the integration, deal with the animal if theirs won’t accept it, or dispose of the animal if Farmer Joe and Jane aren’t quick enough to realize it’s not going to work out.
7) If you rehome your animal here and it doesn’t work out, it might get put down (pet) or put in the freezer (farm animal).
Pet: “Can you give Fluffy a home? I really don’t want to put her down.”
Farm animal: “I need you to take this animal, but please don’t eat it.”
I understand you love your animals. We all do! I also understand you’re sad that Fluffy or George or Mack or Spot isn’t working out at your house. But unless Farmer Joe and Jane have advertised as such, they don’t run an animal sanctuary. They aren’t an animal rescue. They have a farm and the animals they keep serve a purpose—food or otherwise.
Animals cost money to keep, and Farmer Joe and Jane have quite a few already supported by their pocketbook. If Farmer Joe and Jane are consistently putting more money, work, etc., into an animal than they are getting out of it, the outlook isn’t good. Remember what I said about farm life not being a Disney movie?
Farmer Joe and Jane would love to help, but…
After an informal survey of several farmish friends, I was not surprised to hear that many of them are asked multiple times a month to take in an animal.
As one (blogless) friend remarked, “It’s sad. I feel like since we moved to our 20 acre hobby farm six years ago, I’ve become well versed in just how disposable a pet can be to some owners. I had one family friend ask me to take a cat that ‘just wasn’t working out’; she even upped her story to say she thought that maybe her daughter was allergic. I took the cat. It lasted a week on the farm before it was run off. I found out a month later the friend suddenly had three new cats at her house…I wish people would just deal with their animals instead of deciding that farms are some magical place to dump them where everything turns out okay.”
Now, this is not to say that all people looking to re-home animals are irresponsible pet owners. There are times when a pet needs a different environment or family situation to live a happy life.
I did talk to a few farmers who had benefited greatly from taking in someone’s pet. But if we’re honest, we can’t deny it’s quite common for farmers to end up being the recipients of other people’s four legged (or two winged) problems.
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Do your research. If you’re dealing with pet issues, you have many options. Keep in mind that if the issue is behavioral, it might also be medical, so consider a chat with your local veterinarian.
If re-homing is what you need, assistance can be found through local animal humane societies, rescues, or clubs. You can also google the animal type you’re dealing with, rescue, and the state you live in, and you might be amazed at the options that come up! You can find lots of information online at The Shelter Pet Project and Petfinder. A handy site to help with farm animal rescue (searchable by state) can be found at Farm Animal Rescue Groups. Once you start looking, you will find there are many places that exist for the sole purpose of helping animals find a new place to call home.
So while Farmer Joe and Jane can’t necessarily take your pet, please know that it’s not because they are mean. It’s because a) they know animals, and b) they know what their farm can handle.
Farm folk truly do love their animals. Please understand that in wanting to provide the best care possible for them, it might mean they can’t take yours in.