Choosing The Adoption Route, Ten Tips Helping You Find The Right Companion.
The Adoption Route
So, the kids are begging you for a puppy or a kitten, or maybe you want to instill compassion and empathy for animals by adding a small, furry family member to your household and have decided to go the adoption route.
Great! There are many benefits to children growing up with companion animals, but where do you start?
- Figure out which species will best fit with your family. Take into account human family members’ needs and capabilities, other pets, space, allergies, and schedules. Most animal shelters rehome many critters other than just dogs and cats!
- Work out what you can afford. This doesn’t mean simply coming up with an adoption fee- this means taking ongoing costs like training, vet care, environmental enrichment (toys, etc.), and food into account. Try to factor in a donation to the organization you adopt from. Adoption fees rarely cover all actual costs of care for a shelter animal.
- Find a reputable shelter or rescue to choose the adoption route. Information should be given freely, and staff/volunteers are generally happy to help answer your questions. Your chosen organization will hopefully advocate for positive training and offer post-adoption support.
- Be realistic. Explain to them that you’re looking for an animal that fits your family (which may not necessarily be a cute, wiggliest puppy or a gorgeous cat who doesn’t want to share her home with children!) Depending on their age, you may need to avoid certain areas of a shelter.
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- Take your time. Your perfect new family member may not be available for adoption quite yet. Set aside a whole day to get to know some of the shelter animals and don’t commit to one just because you’re running out of time- you can always go back another day!
- Ask questions about all animals- their past, their training, their needs, what to expect while they settle in, etc. Keep in mind any friends or family who may be a perfect candidate for one of the animals you meet.
- Be open to learning- shelter staff want to find a great home for the animals and to help you to be the best family. Ask adoption counselors for up-to-date training and nutrition tips. Each animal is different and people caring for these animals know them best.
- Don’t overlook animals with special needs. Three-legged cats can be just as playful as four-legged ones! Some animals, just like some humans, may have medicinal needs, while others may have social or behavioral issues that need extra attention. Many of these animals are still perfectly content to snuggle with you!
- Make use of trial periods or consider fostering to help you figure out what type of animal fits with your family.
- If you can’t find the right fit or prefer a certain breed, ask if your preferred organization has a waiting list or matching service, or if they can refer you to a breed-specific rescue.
Choosing the adoption route has so many more benefits than just saving the life of the animal you decide to add to your family. By adopting a companion animal, you are helping to break the cycle of irresponsible pet ownership and backyard breeding. By supporting an animal shelter, you are assisting them in their efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome the endless stream of animals who rely on them. Adopting a shelter animal can be incredibly rewarding and if you follow these tips, you’re sure to find the perfect new furry friend to add to your family.
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