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• Medicine • Surgery • Dentistry


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• Traditional Chinese Medicine 727.733.9351


The return policy at the Amsterdam Shelter gives us an


insight into the cultural attitude the Dutch people share when it comes to dogs. Within three months, adopters can return a pet, but will not get a refund nor can they adopt another one. After three months, they must follow the “giving up” procedure. It is prohibited to give the pet away, trade or dump it. The giving up fee includes a basic surrender fee of 100 euros for a dog and 70 euros for a cat as well as fees for chipping, vaccines and any med- ical care necessary. The Dutch seem to understand that owning a dog is a serious responsibility. During my most recent visit to a local shelter, I witnessed the


individual care that can only come from adequately staffed facili- ties with reasonably sized populations. Adopting a dog or cat from most shelters in the Netherlands is a multi stage process. Potential adopters must first meet with a staff member and discuss their lifestyle and expectations. If the staff approves the adopter, they can meet with potential pets on their second visit. Only when the staff is convinced of a good match, are adopters able to take their new pet home. This match making is only possible because the staff has intimate knowledge and experience with their charges. They know which pets are good with children; which need a lot of stimulation; and those who will benefit from a laid back home. The system is not without its drawbacks as many pets spend up to a year waiting for their new homes. Shelters will often transfer pets between themselves to give harder-to-place pets a new envi- ronment and a better chance of being adopted. Dino, Jazz and I have enjoyed learning about the lifestyles of


the Dutch dogs. My dogs will sorely miss their off-leash carefree lifestyle but it is time to head back to Florida. We bring back memories and some lessons learned that hopefully will help our country become a kinder place to be a dog.


You Stay Happy. Your Pets Stay For Free. U


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