If you’ve been to a shelter, you may have noticed two dogs or cats that have a “bonded pair” sign on their kennel. While it might be obvious, it means the two animals have a significant relationship and must be adopted together. Bonded pairs usually come to the shelter when their owner can no longer care for them and asks the staff to keep them together.
Now there are plenty of opinions (when are there not) about bonded pairs in the rescue world. Some argue that it’s imperative to keep pets together who have a relationship. Others say that it lengthens the amount of time the animals spend in the shelter system. So what do we do about it?
Usually bonded pairs have grown up together and can be siblings or non-siblings. Truly bonded animals have a positive and healthy relationship and it can be detrimental to separate them. When apart, one or both can become stressed, anxious, or even depressed without the other around. Keeping them together ensures they are both happy and relaxed during what can be a stressful situation.
When the pair is adopted, they also keep each other company in their new home during a crucial transition period. They can play, exercise, and keep one another from boredom or separation anxiety while their owner is away. If a pair is truly bonded, the benefits of keeping them together highly outweigh the drawbacks.
There are two ways in which bonded pairs suffer when kept together. Most notably because it often takes much longer for them to find a home together. People are rarely looking for two adult animals at one time, which means their prospects are limited. It can take months before someone is able to adopt them and bring them home together. If they have to spend a long time in a high-stress environment, some it’s better they are separated and can find homes quicker.
The other point is when the bond in an unhealthy one. If one of the animals is too dominant, the other doesn’t fully flourish. The submissive pet will likely have a lack of confidence that will only continue if kept with their counterpart. In cases like this, separating the animals is highly beneficial.
So what do I think? I think we often cast our own wants and feelings onto animals which might not necessarily be in their best interest. Pairs who come in together shouldn’t automatically be label as a bonded pair, rather they should be thoroughly examined to ensure they have a mutually beneficial and undeniable relationship. It’s important that if animals are kept together that they really are uniquely bonded.
For the most part, I like to think everyone who works in rescue has the animals’ best interests at heart. I’ve worked with plenty of organizations and bonded pairs are not the norm, but rather the exception.
I can admit though, if something happened to us, I would want Roni & Cheese to stay together. Do you have pets? Do you think they’d do better together? Let me know in the comments below!
Meet Buddy and Carmelo, a bonded pair of poodle mixes that are most certainly better off together. When I walked Carmelo away from Buddy, they both started whining and barking. It was clear to me that they calmed one another down. They are now sharing one forever home.
Thalia is a boy with a girls name. Happens to the best of us. He is such a sweet and energetic puppy that has also since found his forever home. Yay Thalia!
Sararose is working on a post about the 17 essential items that everyone should have in their closet. On the list? Ponchos. I agree they’re the perfect transitional piece and we all need one. I’ve paired it with my Stix and Roses Adopt tee, fringe jeans and yes, my favorite red booties. Shop the look below!