Pet Adoption – Think it Through

by DFS-Pet-Blog on June 14, 2010

My adopted pets: Lucky (top) & Kobe.

My adopted pets: Lucky (top) & Kobe.

**Guest post from Ellen B.**

Since June is “Adopt a Cat” month, I’d like to discuss pet adoption in general. I’ve adopted two pets from my local shelter, and each one has been a very loved and precious addition to our family. (Read about our dog Lucky.) However, before adopting, our family carefully considered whether we were ready for a new pet.

To help you think through your decision to adopt a pet, here are a couple excerpts from Adopting Cats from an Animal Shelter, one of the awesome articles on our PetEducation.com site.

Before you go to a shelter

Having a pet is a big commitment. This animal will be spending years of his life with you. So, before you go to a shelter, it is important to ask yourself several questions:

  • Am I emotionally, financially, and personally ready to take the responsibility of having a new pet?
  • Do I understand the nutritional, housing, and health requirements of this pet?
  • Have I acquired the necessary items needed to take care of this pet, and have I ‘pet-proofed’ my house?
  • Do I know what type of pet I want, e.g. species, breed, or size, temperament, gender, age, or energy level? Write down the characteristics you are looking for. We have heard many stories of people who went to a shelter with one type of pet in mind, and ‘fell in love’ with an entirely different type of animal, and adopted him. Sometimes this worked out fine; other times, the owner regretted the on-the-spur-of-the-moment decision. Be sure to think carefully about what type of pet you are looking for.
  • Are all of the family members in agreement about getting a new pet?
  • Have guidelines been set for the feeding, grooming, discipline and training, and cleaning up after the pet?

Benefits from adopting from shelters

So many cats that would love a forever home!

So many cats that would love a forever home!

Adopting pets from shelters can have many rewards. Many people say they are so happy that they could save the life of a wonderful animal by giving him a new and loving home. It is estimated that 4 to 6 million cats and dogs are euthanized in America’s animal shelters every year. Shelters are filled with animals who were and could continue to be great pets, as well as animals who, with a little training, can become a cherished member of the family.

Animal shelters provide a wonderful mix of adoptable animals. Some are purebreds; others are virtually one of a kind. Animals are also of various ages. Many people prefer to have an older pet so there are no surprises about how big he will grow or the type of coat he may have.

Adopting an animal from a shelter is generally less expensive than acquiring an animal through a breeder or pet shop. Of course, you need to remember that the real financial cost of a pet over his lifetime is not his purchase price, but the food, grooming, health care, toys, etc. If you do not have the money to buy an expensive pet, you need to carefully look at your finances to be sure you can afford any pet, and still provide the care he needs.

Many shelters now neuter and spay all animals before they can be adopted as pets. Others may provide you with a certificate that will pay for a portion of the surgery. Most of the animals have also been wormed and vaccinated. Most animals will be house trained, and many dogs, for instance, have some basic training.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

JulieD June 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Great article. I agree with you and also I believe it’s a promise you make. You make a promise to the shelter as well as the pet to take care of it until the end. So many people do not look adopting or even purchasing a pet as a commitment they are making.

Ellen B. June 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Thanks, Julie! I know that you’re a very conscientious pet owner. This is a topic that really touches my heart.

Dog Supplies June 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

Great advice. Adopting a pet is a wonderful thing to do but being sure that you and your family are ready for the commitment is so important. Many of our clients adopt and we have adopted two dogs that are both great. Giving them a loving home is a great feeling and the right thing to do.

Irene C. June 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

Great article. We adopt two puppies from shelter and were so happy that they are members of our family, giving us comfort in our everyday life was so Great. I love them both.

Rosemary June 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

Well, mine never even made it s far as shelter, so I haven’t adopted a shelter animal. Currently, I have six cats, two dogs and a bird. The cats all have a story. First is Sandy (17), whose stray mother disappeared, leaving three kittens. Bottle fed, and all survived. Lost two due to unrelated incidents about fifteen years ago. Next is Cappuccino (9). She was found in the middle of one of the busiest steets in town, and brought into my vet’s office while I was there. She was skinny, covered in fleas and ringworm, with an abcess on one leg. She came in a box that held cappuccino mix, hence the name.
Boeing (7), was left behind after some neighbors moved. I had already been feeding him, so of course I took him in. Suits (5), adopted us. She showed up on our doorstep and refused to leave. See-See (also 5), came from the Wal-Mart where I worked. She managed to sneek in late one night, and we cornered her in the vision center, which is how she got her name.
Last cat is Connor the Conner. He is a pure white fluffy thing, about eight months old now. I found him when he was only six weeks old, running alongside a busy street, in the cold rain. He was frantically trying to keep pace with a man walking down the street, who said it wasn’t his cat, and kept right on walking. I did have an appointment to take the kitten to the shelter, but it was a couple of weeks before they could take him, and in the meantime, he conned my husband into keeping him.
As for the dogs, my ten year old Rat Terrier, Lucky, was pulled out of a 12 foot deep storm sewer about 30 seconds before over an inch of rain fell. Never saw an ad for a lost puppy, so we wound up with another dog (we had a Doberman mix at the time).
Puppy who-knows-what Ilka, now 6 months, followed Lucky and me while we were out on a walk, I took her back the the house she came from, but they said she wasn’t theirs. I advertised, but nobody claimed her. My husband and I had been discussing getting another big dog, so we ended up keeping her. After treating her for sarcoptic mange, we have discovered that she also has demodex. NOT counting food, supplies and the training class we are attending, I’ve probably spent $500 on her since mid-April. And she still needs one more round of shots, at least four more mange treatments, and to be spayed. At least you only have to spay or neuter them once.
As for our Senegal parrot, Paigliacco, he was free from some friends whose pair had babies. If I had known then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have gotten him. He is much more work than I thought, but we have him, so we deal with it.
We did rehome a another cat earlier this year (another rescue, found literally starving in the middle of the street, weighing only two ounces at five weeks), but we did it through our vet’s office, with the under standing that if the adoption did not work out, we would take him back, and try again. He was NOT getting along with the others, and was causing chaos. It was like living in a Kitty War Zone. Tippy is now an only pet, with little boy to play with, and is very happy. My lot have calmed down, and most of the bad behaviors are gone.
I guess that even though I haven’t adopted a shelter animal, I’ve kept a fair amount from winding up there, as most of the pets I’ve had in my life have been either strays or abandoned by their owners.

Ellen B. July 1, 2010 at 9:01 am

Wow, Rosemary! You sure have a big heart for all these animals who needed a home! How lucky they were to find you, and I bet they each brought a special joy to your home. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

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