Before you head to the mall to buy your next dog or cat at the pet store, consider exploring other options to find that perfect canine or feline for your family. Some great places to search for your furry best friend are from rescue groups, animal shelters, private homes, or pet foster homes. Sometimes a local veterinarian or 24 hour animal hospital will know of pets looking for new owners. Some of the alternative venues not only have kitties and pups, but they might also have birds, horses, hamsters, or goats.
How Pets End Up Homeless
Millions of animals end up in shelters each year, and only half will be adopted. A variety of mixed-breeds and full-breeds end up without homes for many reasons. For example:
- The owners are moving.
- Landlords didn't allow pets.
- Cat or dog got loose and didn't have identifying chips or tags to locate previous owners.
- New babies are born with pet allergies.
- Financial problems or divorce occurred.
Benefits of Rescue
There are many benefits of adopting a pooch or tomcat, rather than purchasing one from a pet shop, including:
- Costs are usually lower: Adoption fees often include immunizations, neutering, microchip, dewormers, and some shelters even give credits for a first veterinarian examination.
- Behavioral analysis performed: At many shelters and rescues, behavioral tests are done to make sure animals are adoptable. Analysts can determine personality traits and preferences in order to match kitties and pups with appropriate owners, and to head off problems before they start.
- Coaching and advice: Shelters can give adoptive families tips for successful transitions for both the animal and the humans.
- Experience with the animal: If pets are adopted from private homes or foster homes, the foster family or former owner can fill the new owner in on the animal's history, whether they're good with other dogs or cats, and other helpful details.
Questions to Ask
When you visit animal shelters or an animal rescue, be prepared to ask questions of staff members. A few things to inquire about include:
- Pet's history: Ask staff members for background information, such as why the animal was give up by its previous owner.
- Medical records: Ask to see a prospective pet's vaccination records, surgical records, and behavioral tests.
- Adoption timeline: Some facilities allow animals to go home with adoptive families right away, while others take a slower approach. Ask what a typical timeline will be.
The most important thing to think about when adopting an animal is whether you are ready to commit to your new pet's care. All members of your household should be in agreement and ready to help your new pal adjust successfully to your home. Once you're ready, you'll find just the right creature to fill your life with love.