Online vitriol and senseless remarks are nothing new ("Animal activists risk turning off pet lovers"; last Sunday).
It should be the responsibility of volunteers to place the dogs they are helping in an environment compatible with their needs, and to ensure that their adoption is in the best interest of both the dogs and adopters.
They need to stress that adopting an animal is a serious commitment. Dogs may take several weeks or months to settle into their new environment. They cost money, and require lots of attention, love and understanding.
Sadly, too many animals are bought or adopted and given up simply because people do not think that owning a pet comes with a huge responsibility.
I suggest that people research what is best for them before they adopt or buy a dog. I would also advise a potential adopter to participate in an orientation programme with the dog.
The potential adopter would be able to make a decision after the first three visits, followed by a week of supervised walks to ensure a smoother transition for the dog into its new environment.
The adopter can also participate in an obedience training course, so the experience of owning a dog can be a positive and lasting one.
Allowing a potential adopter to take a dog home for a "trial stay" is not the best method. Dogs should not be treated like furniture, where they are returned if things do not work out. This will traumatise the dogs and disrupt their rehabilitation.
Did the adopter of Tammy consider all options available to her, including obedience training and veterinary advice to solve the puppy's physical or behavioural problems?
Did the rehomer also consider the adopter's family background before letting her adopt a puppy that would need constant care, supervision and training daily?
One way for volunteers to show they care for the dogs and share the adopters' concerns is to make home visits, especially during the first two months.
Although there is no guarantee that all dogs and adopters end up "happily ever after",
volunteers must try to exercise due diligence in assessing both the dogs' and adopters' needs, and carefully ensure that every dog is placed in a safe, loving and permanent home.
Anita Chew (Ms)
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.