Looking to add a new family member and not sure where to start? Why not consider adoption?
You may have heard some negative stereotypes about adopting a ‘second-hand‘ pet, but adoption is a fantastic way to find the perfect pet for your family and lifestyle.
Adoption opens a world of possibilities. Have your heart set on a purebred instead of a mix? Over 20% of dogs that come into rescues and shelters are purebred. Breed specific rescues are common for many breeds and are easily accessed through the internet.
Depending on your situation a new puppy might not be a good fit. Anyone who has raised a puppy knows that house breaking, crate training, learning not to explore the world with their teeth, basic obedience, and broken sleep can be overwhelming those first weeks home (and possibly months!). Adopting an older dog (many dogs that end up in shelters are between 8 months and 2 years) might be a better fit, and the foster parents (in rescues) or staff (in shelters) can give you an idea of the specific dog’s personality and temperament.
The original pets in the household also need to be taken into consideration. Maybe Miss Kitty wouldn’t mind having another mature cat in the household, but a kitten would be too much. Or perhaps Mittens would benefit from having a young friend to wrestle and play fight with and would annoy an older cat.
Adopting an animal also means that a lot of the medical start up associated with adding a new pet have already been completed. It’s just not true that adopted animals are more likely to be ill. In fact, most dogs and cats in shelters and rescues have already received their currently required vaccinations, flea/worm treatments, heartworm testing and preventative, spay/neuter if old enough, and some are even microchipped. The animals have also been monitored and evaluated by a veterinarian for any issues and concerns.
Where to Adopt
Now that you have decided what you’re looking for the question is where to start looking.
Petfinder is a fantastic online resource that lists available animals for adoption in Canada and the USA. Your search can be modified by area, type of pet, breed, size, age, and more! Most rescues and SPCAs list their available animals on Petfinder, with many containing short descriptions of likes/dislikes, personality and level of training.
SPCA branches and shelters receive strays, owner surrenders, and animal neglect/abuse situations in the area. They are usually at full (or overflowing) capacity with volunteers and staff who know the animals.
Rescues provide a halfway stop between shelters and forever homes. Usually managed by dedicated volunteers and a strong foster home community, these dogs live in homes as members of the family. This allows a dog’s true temperament and home manners to be known. When contacting a rescue be honest with your requirements. A dog who needs 2 hours of hard exercise a day or a cat that dislikes children might not fit well into your life and foster families know their foster animals well.
Also, some veterinarians will occasionally have cats (and to a lesser extent) dogs that are searching for their forever homes. Dr Gina and the staff at the Tantramar Veterinary Hospital have taken in, treated, and found homes for countless cats (some of which you can read about in our Success Stories!).
Not quite ready to adopt?
When adopting a dog or cat you are helping the lives of two animals; the one you have adopted, and the one who will now be able to takes its place whether in a shelter or rescue organization. Nothing beats the love of a rescue animal; however, adding a new pet is a big decision and must always be thought out first.
If you’d like to help rescue an animal, but can’t commit to another full-time and/or full expense addition, consider fostering. We’ll talk about that in our next post!