With thousands of unwanted animals patiently awaiting good homes in shelters across the nation, now may be the right time for your family to question if they are ready to adopt a new, 4-legged family member.
If you are thinking of giving a pet a loving home, there are many things to consider before investing in the adoption fees, the supplies, and the effort it takes to adjust to the new addition. There are some serious questions to discuss with yourself and your family:
Ask: Do You Want the Responsibility?
A pet, no matter what kind, is a commitment. Of course a hamster will not live as long as a dog or a cat but there is still a consideration of time, effort, and financial responsibility.
Ask: Why Do You Want a Pet?
Ask yourself honestly why do you want a pet? Is it for companionship or because your kids won't stop nagging you about getting one? If you are thinking about a pet, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
Ask: Which Pet Is The Right One For Your Family?
If you have no idea what kind of pet you want, do your homework to see which pet will be right for you based on your lifestyle. Visit ASPCA.org to view and sort through different kinds of animals, different breed characteristics and make a more informed decision about what you want. You will also need to understand the good and bad of adoptions over buying from a pet store.
Do: Prepare the Environment
If you have a family, especially a young one, it is important to have a sit-down and explain what will be expected of each person when caring for the pet. You will also need to have the house prepped for the pet's arrival before you go. You will need food, bedding, snacks, food/water bowls, toys, appropriate cages, and other supplies. It's in your best interest to price the cost of such supplies before you bring home a pet to be sure you can afford it. You also need to shop smart so you don't go overboard, especially until you get to know your pet.
Do: Understand the Adoption Process
While shelters are eager to place their animals in loving homes, know that many will require extensive checks prior to releasing an animal to you. Consult with the local shelter about the process and the cost of the adoption before you go. You'll want to know what the adoption fees cover, such as medicines, neutering/spaying, or other vet costs. You might also want to consult with your local vet to see how much annual care of the animal will be and if you can afford it. Ask the shelter what to expect throughout the process so you can prepare yourself and your family for the new arrival and everyone will know what to expect.
By Tisha (Kulak) Tolar