A new pet can be very exciting! But do you know where to find the pet that's right for you? Choosing which pet you'd like can be hard, and not just because you have to choose between one kitten or puppy and another.
We've got the tips to help you make the right decision — for you, and for the animal.
The ASPCA also has helpful tips on adoption! https://www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/adoption-tips
Deciding to adopt a new animal is a big decision and one that shouldn't be made impulsively. Pets need to be cared for and loved like any other member of the family, and that takes time, effort, and money. Do you have time more than once per day every single day to walk your dog? Do you have enough money to buy fresh litter for your cat regularly?
Only adopt an animal if you feel confident in your ability to care for them. While many children will want to participate in all the fun parts of caring for your pet, they often have trouble consistently remembering or even wanting to do the dirty work. Remember, you as the adult are ultimately responsible for the care of any animal in your household. If you won't be able to care for the animal and expect your children to do the majority of the work, it opens the potential for the pet to get hurt or neglected.
Rescue groups, local humane societies and animal shelters are places to look for adoptable pets. There are some groups that even specialize in specific breeds that they work with. Some organizations local to the area include:
Baypath Humane Society https://www.baypathhumane.org/available/
Second Chance Animal Services https://www.secondchanceanimals.org/adopt/
But there are many others that people have worked with!
You might already know exactly what you're looking for in a pet, and that's great! Be sure to chat with adoption staff to make sure that your expectations for what you'll need to do, how much it will cost, and how your pet will behave are realistic. After all, just because a dog is tiny enough to live in an apartment doesn't mean the dog will be quiet enough.
Keep in mind that breeds have centuries of selection in their backgrounds. Even if you are getting a mixed breed, if it looks like it has a lot of shepherd or collie in it, it’s likely to have working breed characteristics. If that’s the case, they may need a lot of exercise and stimulation and not appropriate if you are looking for a couch potato dog! Check out this link to read about different breed characteristics and figure out what kind of dog will fit best with your lifestyle! http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html
Before adopting your pet, you'll want to make sure you're ready to bring an animal home. You don't want to bring a cat home without a litter box, or bring back a bird with no cage for it to nest in. If you need to pet-proof your home, that should be done beforehand as well. You should also be sure you've got some free time to help your pet adjust to its new surroundings, especially if you have kids or already have pets. Once you're ready, you can contact the shelter or rescue group.
Every organization is going to have a slightly different process and price for adoption, but there is a general process that you should be prepared for.
1. Filling out an adoption application. (This may be a general form for eligibility, or may pertain to an animal in particular.)
2. Choosing your animal.
3. Filing an adoption agreement formalizing fees and declaring the health status and current vaccinations for your animal.
4. Paying adoption fees.
5. Finalized medical care for services not already rendered (e.g., spaying).
6. Transporting your animal home.