Did you know that in 2012, 62 percent of American households included at least one pet. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy in 2012-13:
- There are 3,500 animal shelters
- 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year
- 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are adopted from shelters each year
- 2.7 million adoptable cats and dogs are euthanize in shelters each year
Although the number of adoptable pets euthanized each year in shelters have decreased this number is far too high. Are you looking for a loyal companion, filling an empty place in your home and heart after a pet passing, a companion for your child? These are all great reasons to bring a pet in your home and adopt.
Make sure you are ready to make a long term commitment. When adopting a pet, you are committing to care for an animal for the rest of it’s life — this could mean 10 to 15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats. As your life changes, your animal will be a permanent staple and part of your life. Before adopting think about the possible changing situations in your life and really question yourself, will you still be able to care for your pet with your changing life?
Once you’ve made the commitment to adopt you must consider what pet is right for you. Your lifestyle, personality, space restrictions, amount of time spent at home, are all factors needed to be considered when choosing the right pet. Do your research and ask shelter staffer what animals they recommend, the staff is in place to help you decide and answer any questions you may have.
Can you afford to care for your pet’s health and safety? Owning a dog or cat costs more than just the initial adoption fee. Although adopting a pet greatly reduces cost with adoption fees much less significant than directly purchasing from breeders, pet owners must take into consideration factors such as cost of food, vet care, proper identification and dog walkers. Check out this helpful pet care costs guide from the ASPCA for more info.
Do you have enough time to spend quality time with your pet? Dogs require and do best with several hours of exercise and companionship a day, canines who are consistently left alone can develop behavior problems. Cats are happiest and healthiest indoors and love play sessions with their human companions. If you find yourself out of the house often during days and evenings, traveling often, then this may not be the right time in your life to adopt.
Are you willing and ready to train your animal companion? Lack of proper training is one of the most common reasons that adopted animals are returned to shelters.
Is your living space adequate for an animal companion? Living space is a big factor in the happiness of your prospective pet. Living in the confines of a city apartment means that if you have a larger, energetic pup, you must have the means and ability to provide it with the daily exercise it requires. Another consideration is does your current living situation allow pets – many landlords do not allow or place restrictions on having them, make sure to check your leases to ensure that you do not violate any rules that could cause stress in the future.