We are always excited to find loving, responsible homes for the animals we want to help. Taking on a pet is a very big responsibility. We would like you to take a few minutes to consider these ten questions before pursuing pet ownership.
1. Why are you adopting a pet?
Are you getting a dog to "teach your children responsibility?" Consider teaching them with "things," and not with living creatures that will suffer if the lesson "doesn't take."
Are you getting a kitten because "they are so cute?" If what you want is a kitten, get a stuffed toy. Felines are cute kittens for six months; they are cats for 16 to 20 years.
2. What do you expect this animal to be or to do?
Your expectations will determine what kind of pet you should adopt. An active family would be unhappy with a bulldog or basset hound; a quiet family would go crazy with a retriever or a setter. Select a pet that fits your lifestyle.
3. How much time will you be able to spend with this pet?
Dogs and cats are companion animals and they demand and deserve companionship; they cannot be ignored. Pets don't understand "go away, I'm too busy watching TV."
4. Do you have space for a pet?
Cats deserve a place of their own (a private hidey hole or cuddle spot).
Dogs demand much more space depending on the breed and activity level of the dog. Common sense should indicate that a wolfhound is not appropriate for an apartment.
5. Do you have a fenced yard?
The truth is that most dogs need a safe, secure area where they can exercise and get fresh air. For some small pets a securely enclosed patio area is adequate, but most large dogs really need a fenced yard. In some special instances the fence requirement can be waived but most of the time, we require that adoptive homes have a fenced area for their dog.
6. Where will your pet sleep?
The best place is inside with you and your family. Why would you want your new friend to sleep alone outside in the dark or cold?
7. Where will you get your pet?
Every animal rescue organization has a wide selection of pets just waiting for responsible pet owners. If you buy an animal at a pet store or a "puppy mill," you may get a pet that isn't well socialized or has health problems. If you must get a purebred, let the shelters know what you're looking for.
8. How much money will your pet cost?
Adoption fees from shelters are usually around $60. Of course, pet stores and breeders charge much more.
9. Are you prepared for the annual expenses of a pet?
Experts estimate that you can expect to spend from $200 to $400 during the first year of your pet's life. This money covers food, vaccinations, and spay/neuter. Thereafter, costs can reach $300 or more.
10. What will you do with your pet when you go on vacation?
Unless you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who can come into your home or take it into their home, expect to spend $10 to $20 a day to board your pet in a kennel.