Picture this situation. You have made the decision to adopt a pet (Congratulations!). As you research the animal rescue or shelter website, or even as you attend an adoption day – you come across a pet that you feel is the ONE. However, the pet is part of “A bonded pair”. What do you do – since you were only looking for one. You only have two options in this scenario..
Option 1: You adopt the pair and you have one more pet than what you initially planned for.
Option 2: You look for another one that is not part of a bonded pair.
Here’s why. Pets who are considered “Bonded Pairs” means that they have formed an intense emotional bond with each other. This can also mean that one pet is the eyes or ears of the other who is blind or deaf. It is critical for the well being of the pets and even for the household, that they remain together. To separate a bonded pair is asking for destructive behaviors to not only furniture – but also to themselves. In some cases, when one pet is taken away from the other – you have a lot of nervous behaviors like panting, howling, barking, searching. For my own dogs, one would get very nervous when we had both of them at the vet and one would be taken to a different room to get their shots, even if it was only for about 6 minutes.
In more extreme cases (especially when one pet is a guide for the other), the pet that was dependent on the other will inevitably be lost. One of my colleagues fosters cats for a local rescue. There was a pair of cats – one was deaf (Charlie) the other was not (Sam). Sam got adopted – but Charlie did not. So my colleague took on Charlie. My colleague did everything in her power to make Charlie feel at home. My colleague is a well seasoned cat owner and the cats that live there have an amazing home with an abundance of cuddles, playtime and attention . Yet despite all of this - plus communication that was given to this kitty – she was still profoundly sad and very heartbroken. She was grieving for her Sam – her ears to the world. Charlie was an older cat with a poor physical condition and my colleague tried everything to help her improve. After a year of Charlie being without Sam, and her physical condition not getting better – the painful but most loving decision was made to send Charlie to the Rainbow Bridge and ease her suffering.
Remember – animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings that form emotional bonds – just like we do. To separate a bonded pair is to invite an inconsolable grief on the part of the pet and health issues that cannot be healed. Not to mention the frustration and worry that will be incurred on the part of the owner.
Bonded pairs need to remain together. They have bonded for a reason.
If you have questions about your bonded pair (or if you think you might have a bonded pair) e-mail me
*Charlie and Sam’s names are used with permission*
*Taz and Denali appear with Permission from Zehavit Kabak