Is Pet Adoption Right for You?

How to Know if Pet Adoption is Right for You

The decision to adopt an animal, whether it’s a dog, cat, bunny, or turtle, requires a lot of thought. It’s an important choice that will impact every aspect of your life (time, financial, lifestyle) for years to come, so before making a spur of the moment decision, it’s critical that you first decide if pet adoption is right for you at all. Here are a few questions to ask yourself prior to adopting an animal.

Are You Ready to Commit?

Animals can live up to 15 years or longer, so this question should be answered first. If you travel or move a lot, or are anticipating life changing events (marriage, moving) in the near future, you may want to hold off on adopting a pet until the dust has settled. Also, project out. Ask yourself whether you’ll be able to take care of your pet when and if circumstances do change in your life.


Can You Afford It?

The initial cost of adopting a pet can vary greatly, depending on the type and condition of the animal, the location, and the shelter. The cost to adopt a dog, for example, can be well over $200, based on the dog’s age and whether or not spaying or neutering is required.

The adoption fee is just the beginning, though. The animal you adopt will determine the lifetime cost, but you may have annual vet bills for vaccinations and checkups, food, vacuums for your pets, collars, leashes, dewormers, tanks and lighting, and flea and tick medications that need to be considered in the long term cost projection.


Do You Have Time?

Animals are intended to be companions, and many breeds are more person-focused than others. If you are thinking about adopting a cat or dog, for example, think about just how much time you’ll have to spend socializing with your new pet. Also, consider training needs. If you want to adopt a young animal, or one that hasn’t been properly trained, you’ll need to consider the time and expense associated with training him, either at home or through obedience classes.

Training is a big part of the time factor, but the animal’s other ongoing needs are important, too. You also have to consider grooming requirements (shedding, bathing, brushing) and clean up (messes, litter box, tank). Not to mention playtime, exercise, and cuddle time!

Is Your Home Ready for a Pet?

If you have really young children in the home, or are expecting a child, consider waiting a few years before adopting a pet, especially a dog. New pets in particular require additional attention and focus, and if they can’t get the attention they need because there are young children who also require the same energy from you, behavioral issues may develop with the new animal. Resentment and competition can result when an animal feels neglected.

Another home consideration is space. Do you have adequate room for the type of pet you want to adopt? If you live in a small space, a large dog, or a pet that requires a large tank (snakes, lizards) may not be a good fit. If that’s the case, don’t settle for a smaller animal that you really don’t want. Wait until your living situation is conducive to your ideal pet before adopting one.

Only you will know whether or not adopting a pet is right for you. Take your time in making a choice about if, when, and what type of animal to adopt. The decision to assume responsibility for the life of an animal is an all-encompassing one, and it will affect every aspect of your life for years to come.


What is a No Kill Shelter?

What is a No Kill Shelter?

The term “no kill shelter” means different things to different people. Some people classify a shelter as “no kill” when it doesn’t euthanize any animals for any reason. However, many people find that reasoning to be cruel, insisting that there should be some concession given when the animal is too sick or too dangerous to rehabilitate. The most common type of no kill shelters, then, are those that don’t euthanize animals simply because of lack of space, or just because the animal has been at the shelter for too long.

What Do They Do?

When an animal arrives at a no kill shelter, he is assessed for temperament issues. If the animal is deemed to be behaviorally unsound, the shelter staff will work patiently with him, either on site or through an experienced foster family, to try to get him to a point where he is adoptable. Unfortunately though, it isn’t always possible, as many animals have a history of being abused and neglected. If an animal is too aggressive and continually shows a potential to hurt people or other animals, he is eventually deemed to be unadoptable, and may get euthanized. However, this is a very rare occurrence in a no kill shelter, and only the most aggressive of animals fall into this category.

Animals also receive a physical examination upon intake into a no kill shelter. The staff veterinarian examines the health of the animal, looking for signs of neglect and illness. All illness that is deemed to be treatable is then treated. If the animal is too ill or injured, and his quality of life is suffering greatly (ex: terminal cancer, hit by a car) then he may be labeled as unadoptable and eventually euthanized. The act of euthanizing an animal in this instance is considered to be humane, as it ends his suffering.

Difference in Philosophies

If these steps sound like any other shelter, that’s because the majority of shelters do engage in one form or another of health and behavioral screening for animals. However, the difference is that, in a no kill shelter, adoptable animals are held and housed for an unlimited period of time. That is the distinction. Other shelters hold animals for only a limited period of time, and if they aren’t adopted, the animals are euthanized, regardless of how adoptable they’ve proven to be in their assessment.

Reaching Their Goals Through Outreach

A general rule is that, in order to be classified as a no kill shelter, more than 90% of the animals that are taken into receiving by the shelter must be saved. In order to achieve their goal, shelters implement different programs and methods to get the word out about the animals they’re housing, as well as to help stem the tide of unwanted animals when there are already too many to help. For example, no kill shelters host adoption events at local pet stores. Not only are they advertising for their current animals to be adopted, but they are making people aware of their shelter, and they’re advertising for the animals that have yet to be admitted.

Another way that no kill shelters work toward maintaining their 90%+ goal is by trying to circumvent the problem in the first place. They advocate for spaying and neutering (like most shelters do), and they also offer information on low cost veterinary services, as well as training and behavioral classes. The goal is to prevent the animal from being returned, and to empower the adopter with the necessary information and support network they need.

It’s clear that no kill shelters offer many of the same services that are provided by other shelters. They prepare the animals for adoption by ensuring that they are ready physically and behaviorally. The shelter staff also advocates spaying and neutering, and they educate adoptive families. The difference between the two types of shelters is that no kill shelters don’t put a time limit on the adoption process. They believe that all animals that are adoptable should be allowed as much time as they need to find their forever home.

Pet Adoption: Puppy or Adult?

Should You Adopt a Puppy or an Adult?

It seems that everyone has the ideal of adopting a puppy for their young children, but this may not be the most ideal choice. Adult dogs, which are already trained and have set personalities, should be an option that you consider as you choose the right dog for your family.

The time invested in having a puppy

There is an increased time investment in having a puppy over an adult dog during the formative years. A young puppy can require 24 hour monitoring if it is of the fussy variety. If you’re already up late with children who need monitoring and feeding late at night, adding another mouth that needs feeding can stress you out past a point you can tolerate.

Not only is there the added time invested in caring for a puppy, there is also all the time it will take to train it properly. An adult dog will, hopefully, already be trained so you can get right to enjoying your dog, rather than struggling with it.

If you feel you can manage the added work of a puppy, and that your children are up for it as well, then by all means go pick out that little puppy of your cuddly dreams. If you can not picture yourself managing, don’t make it a trial by fire – adopt an already trained adult dog.

The temperament of your dog isn’t set until adulthood

Puppies are full of excitement, energy and curiosity. This may very well pass once your puppy grows up and develops its full personality. Think about it, you’re not the same person in your 30s as you were in your first ten years.

There are two things that you need to consider when it comes to personality:

  • A puppy is not yet set in how it will behave – including what aggressive traits it will have. But you can shape those behaviors as the puppy grows.

  • An adult dog will already have a set personality, one which may have hang ups from a previous owner.

If you can meet the demands of the time needs outlined above, then raising a puppy from infancy to adulthood can help you groom a dog that fits perfectly into your family. If you don’t have the time you may very well raise a dog which has poor behavior and even a resentful or violent temperament.

Adult dogs will have personalities and characteristics that are already set. You can speak with the owner or breeder about how the dog behaves and maybe you can even watch the dog yourself to see how it behaves.

You could save a dog

If you have read all of this and are still set on a puppy, good for you! They can be a great addition to a family and bring you all kinds of joy.

An adult dog, however, offers you the chance to experience a different kind of happiness. Puppies are the first to be adopted, adult dogs are usually the last to be chosen and frequently end up being euthanized. If your local shelter is over-run with adult dogs, maybe there is some satisfaction to be gained by you to know that you saved it from death.


Why Was my Adoption Application Rejected?

Pet Adoption: Why Was my Adoption Application Rejected?

Prospective pet owners are no more prone to getting pets from shelters right away than prospective human adopters are prone to getting children right away. Pet shelters have tightened up their adoption requirements for pets due to ill treatment of pets by careless owners.

Shelters are full of dogs that have already been neglected – that is why they ended up in a shelter. The last thing that the shelter wants is for one of their dogs to come back to them. They are careful with who they will allow to adopt their dogs to lessen the stress on the dog and lessen the amount of time they have to spend bringing dogs in numerous times.

My Adoption Application Was Rejected, Now What?

There are a number of reasons why your pet adoption application was rejected. We’ll look at the most common so that you can understand what happened, and so that you can better prepare yourself next time.

You lied during the application process

This is a no-brainer. If they find out you have lied, and they can as they will employ a number of investigators that make it their business to ensure that dogs are safe from lying prospective owners. If you lie, don’t be surprised if you’re flagged by this and many other shelters.

They found your home to be unsafe

This is about safety from a dog’s perspective. They’ll look at factors such as:

  • Not having a secure yard

  • If family members leave the door or gate open frequently

  • If your family is in the middle of dangerous renovations

  • Other animals in your home display aggressive behavior

The good thing about this is that you can fix it. Talk to the shelter about safety issues and see if an automatically closing gate can solve your safety issue, or if a better fence is in order.

The animal wasn’t the right fit for you

You may love the animal, but that doesn’t mean that the animal will love you or your family environment. The shelter has had this animal for a period of time and have gotten to know what it will need in a home environment. If they feel you are not a good fit then you should thank them for saving you the stress of having a pet which wouldn’t appreciation you!

You’re too young

If you’re under 21, forget about it. There are insurance issues, the insecurity of you not knowing for certain where you’ll live in 5 years and your inexperience in dealing with a pet on your own.

The biggest reason: You are rude to the shelter agent

If you can’t treat a person properly, who is just trying to find the right pet for you, and the right home for the pet, then you will not get approved. The shelter is under no obligation to give you a pet, if you abuse the shelter employees, well, who in their right mind would think that you will not abuse the pet as well?

This is commonly the reason that you are given under ‘unexplained reasons’ being cited for your rejection. Look at your behavior and see if there was anything you did to insult, belittle, act rudely towards or antagonize the shelter employees. If you have, then you have your answer.


Benefits of Pet Adoption

Some Benefits of Pet Adoption

The decision to add a pet to your household is one that will yield benefits for not only the animal, but yourself and your family as well. You’re giving an animal a chance at a happy, safe and comfortable life, and you’re adding a loyal, loving companion to your household. Of course, there are many other benefits that come with adding a pet to your family. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Physical Benefits

Studies show that when a baby is raised around a dog, the child is less likely to grow up with allergies, asthma, and eczema. Additionally, dogs in particular are good pets to have for a person’s heart health. The fact that dogs need exercise will prompt the owner to go for walks, take a hike, or go jogging with the animal.

You Save a Life

It’s just that simple. By choosing to adopt a pet, you are guaranteeing that he will be spared from euthanasia. Many animal shelters are no kill shelters, but even more are not. The Humane Society estimates that 2.7 millionadoptable dogs and cats are euthanized every year, but that number decreases every time an animal is chosen for adoption.

Allow Room for Another Animal

When you adopt an animal, you’re freeing up a space at the shelter for the staff to be able to help another animal. That way you’re not only giving your new companion the chance at a new life, but you’re paying it forward. The animal that takes the place of the one you adopted now has a chance for a good life, too.

 The Animal’s Health

One of the reasons that shelters have to charge for adopting a pet is because of the health needs of the animal that need to be addressed before they can release him for adoption. This can include wellness checks, vaccination and deworming, spaying and neutering, and addressing any issues found during the checkups. What this means for the animal is that he will be in much better shape physically because you chose to adopt him. What it means for you is that you’ll be taking home a healthy new pet.

 Take Your Pick

Shelter animals make the best pets because they are grateful, loyal and loving animals. Adopting from a shelter gives you an additional benefit as well. When you adopt from a shelter that houses different animal species and breeds, you have a wide variety from which to choose. Are you looking for a dog or a cat? Shelters have pure breeds, mixed breeds, long haired, short haired, small, medium and large breeds all under the same roof. Many shelters also have turtles, hamsters, rabbits, and some even have chickens, roosters, and other farm animals!

As you can see, there are numerous benefits to adopting an animal. As always, though, think the decision all the way through first. After all, adopting a pet is a decision that could impact your life for 15 years or more. If the choice is right for you, from saving a life to improving yours, adopting a pet can be a win-win decision.