Health & Medical Mental Health

What to Do With Your Pets During Drug Detox

If you have pets and you need to undergo a drug detox program, there are a number of options for their care while you get the help you need. Unfortunately, many addicts and alcoholics delay treatment or avoid it altogether because they cannot make the proper arrangements for their pets. This article offers some tips and advice for pet care while you're attending detox - a critical medical need considering that unabated addiction invariably leads to death.

Specialized Treatment Centers

There are a number of detox centers that permit patients to bring their pets - of course with a number of significant restrictions. This is offered as a method of reducing the stress and upheaval sometimes associated with treatment, as well as helping to mitigate depression by preserving the bond between a person and their pet.

A simple Google search will help to find a detox or longer term rehab program that will allow you to bring your pet. However, not all treatment centers that offer this benefit advertise it, so it might be necessary to directly contact detox facilities near you and ask.

Pet Sitters

In order to reduce stress and potential for mishap, keeping your pets at home while you undergo drug or alcohol detox is usually the best option. Pet sitters can help you manage this process by feeding your pets, exercising them, and spending some time with them each day while you are in treatment.

Ideally a pet sitter will be someone you know and trust; a friend, family member, or someone from work, for instance. However, if this is not possible professional pet sitters can be found at reasonable rates.

Placement with Family and Friends

Family or friends may be willing to take care of your pets - especially if it will help you get into treatment. After all, it is often the people who are closest to you who have guided you into treatment in the first place. Unfortunately, many addicts have "burned their bridges" with their friends and family by the time they decide to go through detox.

If an interventionist was involved in your decision to get help, they may be willing to discuss the idea of pet care with your family. Otherwise, you'll need to address the subject confidently yourself. Writing your request with great care and preponderance is sometimes an effective way to make this request.

Kennel or Boarding

Boarding a pet isn't an ideal situation, but many boarding and kennel facilities provide environments that are as stress-free as possible. This can include daily walks, playtime, companionship or handling, interaction with other animals, comfortable sleeping areas, medical monitoring and attention and many other benefits.

Boarding fees vary substantially from state to state, ranging from as low as $10-$15 per day to hundreds of dollars per day, depending on level of care. Long term stays may qualify for a discount, so make sure to ask if you choose to board or kennel your pet while you attend detox.

Church Groups

Church groups are an underutilized resource and may be able to help you in a number of ways if you have pets but need to go to a detoxification program. In some cases you may be able to obtain funding for pet sitter services or kenneling, while in other cases you may be able to find members of the congregation willing to care for your animals while you get the help you need.

Provided that you are honest and have some intention of developing a relationship with the church, this could prove to be a value resource. Additionally, many church groups host AA, NA and Al-ANON meetings and functions and may be able to connect you with these groups for additional support.

Finding a New Home

It's not a decision that anyone should have to make, but if it comes down to a choice between going to detox and losing your pet, you MUST make the sacrifice and get yourself into treatment. The fact of the matter is that if you continue down the path of active addiction, you're eventually going to lose your pets anyway.

Finding a new home for your pet can be as easy as an ad in Craigslist or a local website or publication. However, most people prefer to find a potential placement among close friends or family. Other options include animal rescue leagues, church groups as mentioned above, and in some cases veterinary clinics may offer some resources.

Shelters and the ASPCA

If you're left with no other options, consider bringing your pet to a local shelter or ASPCA center. In many cases you can find no-kill shelters, but overall if your pet is well-behaved it's likely to be adopted out to a new home. Some shelters and humane societies are well-funded and staffed by a passionate group of volunteers whose mission is to place the right pet with the right family.

Getting clean should be your top priority because ultimately, if you're addicted to drugs or alcohol you're no good to anyone - including yourself - until you recover. This could be the most important decision of your life, so if you need to undergo drug detox or detox for alcoholism, get your pets situated as effectively as possible and quickly get the treatment you need.

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