You’ve made up your mind, it’s time to bring a pet into the family and you’re considering adopting a shelter animal. First of all, kudos for choosing a shelter pet. According to the Humane Society of the United States nearly 8 million animals end up in shelters each year and half won’t be adopted.
It’s important to consider the three following points before you adopt:
1. It’s often cheaper to adopt a shelter pet than purchasing or even getting one free when you add in vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, microchip, dewormer and more included in your adoption fee, says the Humane Society.
2. Shelters have more than just dogs and cats. You can also find birds, small animals, horses, livestock and even purebred animals. Decide what kind of pet will be the best fit — big, small, good with kids? Dogs require more maintenance than cats. Do you have the time to devote to walks, potty breaks, and one-on-one time? If you’re time-strapped, consider smaller animals that require less maintenance. Is anyone in the house allergic? If you don’t find the right fit on your first visit, come back. Shelters get new animals daily.
3. Spend time with your maybe pet, advises Vetstreet. Most shelters have a special room to do just that, where you can interact and get to know each other. Bring all members of the household, if possible, including other pets, adds Vetstreet. Most shelters and rescue groups conduct thorough behavioral analyses of animals to ensure that they will be the right fit for you, notes the Humane Society.
4. Be prepared. If you meet the dog (or other animal) of your dreams, prepare beforehand because you may be able take your new family member home with you that day, adds Vetstreet. Ask in advance what the cost will be and have your home ready for your new family member.