1. The Myths of Pet Adoption - Did you know that most pets are homeless due to know fault of their own? It is a common myth that all pets in shelters and rescues are damaged in some way. Nothing could be farther from the truth about pet adoption! Animal shelters and rescues are full of happy, healthy highly adoptable pets just waiting for someone to take them home. Most pets are given up when their prior owner could no longer afford them, got divorced, had a death in the family or other unexpected change in their family situation, or didn’t realize how much time & attention a pet deserves and needs. Unfortunately, the numbers are compounded by a surplus of pets bred for profit: approximately 4 million adoptable pets are killed each year due to overpopulation. By considering pet adoption, and adopting a pet from a rescue or a shelter, not only are you saving that pet, you're either making room in the rescue so they can save another pet from a shelter, or making room at the shelter itself. As you can see, adoption is truly a continuous cycle of saving lives, and it's the humane thing to do! Thank you for considering pet adoption, and please help us debunk the myth of homeless pets in the future.
2. Some Rescue Pets Are Already Trained for a Home – Even though living in a pet rescue isn’t ideal, most rescues (and some shelters) are helping the pet in more ways than just keeping it alive. Pets can be socialized with other animals that help make them friendlier with all types of animals. Many rescue organizations use foster homes, where puppies and kittens for adoption are socialized with children and other dogs and cats, and given basic obedience training before they go to their new homes. This makes the transition to your home after pet adoption much easier for both pet and owner. Something else to point out, many dogs and cats in animal shelters and humane societies are already housebroken, trained and ready to go! Sometimes this is on behalf of the hard working shelter volunteers, and foster care givers, or it is because the animal has already lived in a home and understands basic household rules like using the bathroom outside, or not jumping onto furniture.
3. Rescues Are Great at Finding the Right Pet Personality for You - Rescues are very careful to make sure their adoptable dogs and cats go to the best homes for pet and owner. Each organization has its own application and screening process for potential adopters. Since pet rescues really get to know their dogs and cats for adoption, they are able to match you up with the perfect companion for you. Volunteers also follow up with you after the pet adoption to make sure everything's going well. They can help you get through any rough spots by offering training tips and other advice. Pet adoption from a rescue group has another benefit: if, for some reason, things don't work out with your new friend, most rescues will take the pet back, saving you a lot of heartache and headache. In an effort to help people make good choices when they adopt a dog or cat, many rescues even specialize in small dogs, some rescue only giant breeds. There are thousands of rescue groups devoted to a particular breed of dog or cat, too!
4. Rescues Have Plenty of Purebred Animals - If you have your heart set on a specific breed, before you check out a breeder or pet store, why not adopt a pet from a breed rescue organization? 25% of all pets in a shelter are purebred animals. There are also lots of breed rescue groups that specialize in a particular breed of dog or cat. Don't be fooled into thinking that animal shelters and pet rescues are filled with dog or cats that were discarded because they're "bad". Shelter pets are wonderful companions who became the victims of family tragedy, unlucky circumstances or irresponsible owners. Did you know that many backyard dog breeders and pet stores who supply the majority of purebreds simply are selling inbred pets without care for preventing genetic problems? Mixed breed pets have less inbreeding, generally less inherited genetic disease, and therefore overall lower vet bills and happier pets! And the best place to find a mixed breed dog or cat is at a rescue, SPCA, humane society or animal shelter. Pet adoption is the healthy option too!
5. Pet Adoption Will Build Life Lessons for Children - Adopting a companion animal provides a fertile opportunity to teach important values to children. The decision to devote your resources and care to an animal in need sends a very clear message about the identity of a family and its underlying values. It is a great time to explore who you are as a family and what you stand for. It is through this process that a child learns things like, “We are a family with an important choice to make, and we are going to use the power of this choice to save a life.” This teaches kids about personal responsibility and their impact on the greater good as they make choices in life. Children need to feel they can impact their world. We need to give them opportunities to do so in positive, pro-social ways. Pet adoption and caring for an animal can plant the seeds for that ethic. Dogs help children get outside more – to go for walks, run, and play – and enjoy all the associated health benefits. Kids also learn responsibility by feeding and caring for a pet’s routine needs. Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem. And for emerging readers, reading to a pet is an easy way to feel comfortable.
6. How to Plan for a Pet Friendly Schedule – How much time your new pet will really needs is dependent on the type of pet, including but not limited to the breed, age, amount of previous training, other pets & people in your home, and your current activity level and lifestyle. Matching the time a pet will take to the amount of time you want to spend on your pet is a very important part in finding your new best friend! A good first step is really thinking about your daily routine. How much free time do you have each day that you are willing to devote to the care, training, and attention of your new pet over the next few months, and then for the lifetime of that pet? For social pets like birds, rabbits, dogs, and cats, time spent just “hanging out” with you while you’re watching a movie or reading a book, counts too! Dogs and puppies vary the most in their time requirements, ranging from an adult, already-trained, mellow breed, to a high-energy puppy that would love a jogging companion and another high-energy dog friend. Be prepared to spend at least 4-5 hours a day with a high energy puppy who needs training, about 3-4 hours a day with a single adult dog, and 2-3 hours a day with kittens and 1-2 hours a day with adult cats.
7. How to Prepare Fiscally for Pet Adoption & a New Pet - Being a good caring pet owner involves many things that don’t affect your wallet, like your time and love, but there are definitely some costs involved! Before you adopt, consider the likely costs that come with caring for different types pets. If you’ve never owned a particular type of pet before, knowing how much your new pet will cost can be complicated. When adopting there will usually be an pet adoption fee. Rescuing pets is expensive work! The rescuer often pays to have the pets spayed or neutered if they aren’t already, provides vaccines, and pays for all medical care needed while the pets are in their rescue. Food, beds, leashes, collars, tags, grooming, it adds up, but luckily much of that cost is not passed on. Typical pet adoption fees range from $100 to $300. Next consider you basic supplies such as a collar, IDs, microchip, leash, pet bed, bowls, and toys. The biggest cost will be food, that depends on the size and type of animal you will be adopting. Asking the shelter what they are feeding the animal and the cost can help prepare for this. Other costs are mostly medical and will include regular vet checkups, and the potential for a trip to the vest because of an accident, or illness. If you will be away from your dog all day long, you may want to look into doggie daycare, or a dog walker.
8. FAQ for Veterinarian Visits - Taking your new pet (whether dog, cat, hamster, or any other living thing) to the veterinarian should be your first priority. This is especially true if you have other pets. It's a good idea to make sure your new pet is healthy and doesn't have any diseases or viruses he or she could transmit to other animals in the house. The best way to find a veterinarian is by word of mouth. The animal shelter or rescue group where you adopted your pet may have a good recommendation for you. For proper preventative care, your dog or cat should be examined by a veterinarian twice a year. A typical vet checkup includes searching for fleas using a special flea comb. Taking your pet's temperature, and a physical examination which will include checking your pet's ears, eyes, nose, teeth, skin, legs, joints, and genitals, and lymph nodes and listen to the heart and lungs. It will be common for the veterinarian to stress the importance of avoiding parasites, and will suggest options for flea and tick prevention and control.