Before You Adopt

Thank you for considering a rescued animal in your adoption decision. Adopting a rescued animal can be one of the most generous and satisfying acts you’ll ever know. Now that you’re thinking of adoption, there are some considerations you should take into account in determining if now is the right time for you and your family to adopt, and in deciding what type of pet would work best in your household situation.

Having to return a pet to the shelter because it didn’t work out in your home is traumatic for both the animal and for you and your family as well. Read over the following questions to determine if now is the right time for you to adopt.

Do you have time for a pet?

Dogs, cats and other companion animals require care and companionship every day of every year. They’ll need food, water, exercise, grooming and your companionship. Make sure you and your family will have the time to provide all these needed activities. A number of animals in our shelter are here because their owners didn’t realize how much time was required for their care.

Can you afford a pet?

The costs of pet ownership can become quite high. The cost of food, licenses, veterinary care, grooming, toys, litter and other expenses can add up quickly.

Are you prepared to deal with the special problems and expenses that a pet can bring?

Even the youngest and best-trained pet can have extraordinary medical problems or ruin furniture. Some animals may have accidents around the house that cause clean-up headaches. In addition, unexpected medical emergencies can sometimes run bills into the thousands of dollars. The joys of pet ownership often override these considerations, but make sure you are able and willing to deal with them should they arise.

Are you willing to train your animal companion?

Lack of training is one of the most common reasons that adopters return pets to shelters - are you willing to solve behavior problems? While all dogs at our shelter receive basic training, you may need to seek out additional training to ensure you’ve established good communication with your pet. Also, taking the time to understand why your cat does what she does, especially when it involves her litter box or scratching habits, will help you avoid potential problems.

Are you able to have a pet where you live?

Have you checked to see whether your landlord allows pets where you live? If so, is there a restriction on the type of pet (e.g., cats but no dogs), size of pet, or number of pets you’re allowed to own? Also, be sure to determine if there is a pet deposit required if you adopt an animal.

Is it a good time for you to adopt a pet?

If you have very young children at home – say under the age of 6 – then you may want to ask yourself if it would be better to wait until they are a bit older and mature enough to help handle a pet. For example, many a pet, especially cats, have been lost when young children leave doors open. If you’re a student, in the military or travel often as part of your job, then you may want to wait until your schedule settles down before adopting.

Is the type and breed of pet you’re considering right for your lifestyle and living arrangements?

Make sure you do research on the type and breed of animal you’re thinking of adopting. For example, if you’re considering adopting a dog, make sure you understand the type of exercise requirements they need and whether your house and yard are equipped to handle one. Many people prefer to adopt a kitten rather than an adult cat, but you need to make sure they are right for your family. Kittens require a lot time, energy and attention and don’t always mix well with small children and seniors. Also, from a personality perspective, the kitten you adopt may not grow into the cat you want. If you’re considering a rabbit, is your house set up to keep your rabbit indoors?

Is anyone in your family allergic to the type of pet you want to adopt?

If you’re considering adopting a rabbit, make sure no one is allergic to either rabbits or hay.

Are you prepared to keep and care for the pet for his or her entire lifetime?

When selecting a pet, please realize that you are making a commitment to care for this animal for their entire life. For example, life expectancies for cats can range from 15 – 20 years, so you should evaluate whether you and your family are ready to make this lengthy commitment to the animal you’re adopting.