Many people don’t realise how much their pet is worth. Pets are tremendously valuable. Aside from their traditional roles as guards, farm workers, hunters and companions – research shows that having a pet makes us healthier. Pet owners have better general health and lower blood pressure than non pet owners. Kids with pets in their home take fewer sick days from school and have better non verbal communication. Older pet owners are less lonely and more likely to be active if they own pets. Of course, human beings only receive these benefits if they are responsible pet owners.

This year SAGA has seen an increase in the number of pets that have been purchased at great cost to the owner, given up for adoption. Why would people spend hundreds of dollars on a dog, only to give it away to SAGA?

Many people will share stories of the local pot licker, its loyalty and good temperament with children. If the ‘pot licker’ were considered a breed, maybe it would have more value. Certainly, the Belizean pot licker is a unique dog and Belizeans should be proud to own one. But some people want something specific - such as a certain coat colour or size - and so they go to pet shops or breeders to buy a pet off the shelf, in much the same way they’d buy a box of corn flakes. The big difference is that a healthy, well cared for pet can live for 14 years or longer. Pet ownership is a big commitment and should be taken especially seriously by parents wishing to teach their children about behaving responsibly.

The pets that are being given up to SAGA did nothing wrong except grow up. The cute little puppy that was purchased six months ago has turned into a demanding, large and active dog that needs training, exercise and company. Unfortunately, the people who purchased the puppy didn’t think it through and now there is an unhappy ending. The children are sad and feel like failures, the adults have lost several hundred, maybe thousands of dollars raising the puppy and the dog is homeless, no longer loved or wanted.

If you are considering getting a pet, try your local humane society first. In San Pedro, it’s SAGA. Pet ownership is not a decision to take lightly or to make on the spur of the moment. The experts at SAGA will help you to find the perfect pet for your needs. Once you have adopted the a dog or cat, you’ll soon discover how valuable a pet truly is.