You’ve no doubt heard the slogan “adopt, don’t shop.” If you’re considering a new pet, take a look at adopting.
Many shelters offer more than just dogs and cats. You can also find small animals like ferrets, hamsters and rabbits in a shelter, as well as larger livestock like pigs, goats and horses. Here’s all you need to know about adopting a pet.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Before heading to the shelter, carefully research the pets you’re considering adopting. Look at lifespan — dogs can live 10-15 years, cats up to 20 and horses up to 40. Are you and your family willing to make a commitment for that long? Also consider your personality and lifestyle. Are you gone a lot? Maybe a dog isn’t right for you. Also look into breeds and space restrictions. If you have any questions, ask shelter staff. Most of them are adept at matching animals with the perfect family.
MAKE A PLAN
When you’re adding an animal to your family, you need to have plans for health care, boarding when you travel or go on vacation, and for training. You also need to plan for extra costs, like fees for adoption, food, spaying and neutering, licensing according to local regulations, collars and leashes, toys, permanent identification such as microchips, crafts and carriers, and a bed. You should also plan for unexpected expenses like accidents, illnesses and any specialized training the pet may need.
VISIT A SHELTER
Make a visit to one or more local animal shelters. If you don’t see a pet for you right away, consider volunteering so that you can learn about the animals they have. You can also foster, which means you take care of an animal in your home. This will give you a taste of life with an animal is like. You can even foster-to-adopt the pet you’re considering so that you can see how that particular animal will fit in with your family.
AFTER YOU’VE ADOPTED
Once you’ve got your new friend home, visit the local pet store and stock up on things you’ll need to give it a safe, happy life. The shelter can give you a checklist, or the experts at your pet store can help.