How to get it? With nutrition that thinks ahead.
See why rescue dogs and puppies make great pets. Plus, learn common misconceptions about rescue dogs, as well as how to find the perfect match for your family.
Learn about the adoption process and what you should do before you adopt a rescue kitten or cat, including how to choose a cat personality that meshes with your
Adopting a pet is a wonderful deed—you’ll help a dog or cat in need while at the same time find a devoted animal companion. But it’s also a long-term commitment and not to be taken lightly. You’ll need to be prepared to provide care, food, training and attention—be ready to deal with a pet that may shed on or chew or scratch furniture—and be able to afford years of veterinary costs. But what you’ll receive in return is priceless and immeasurable: the gift of unconditional love.
Shelter Pet Myths
There are many myths associated with shelter animals that prevent potential pet-owners from considering adoption. One myth is that you can’t find adoptable puppies or kittens; in reality, pet rescues and shelters have pets of all ages and sizes waiting to find a forever home. Another myth is that there are no purebred dogs or cats available for adoption. The truth is 25% of shelter animals are purebreds. In addition, there are many breed-specific rescue groups that work to match up the right owner with the perfect purebred pet. Finally, many believe falsely that pet rescue and shelter animals have been given up because they’re untrainable, while in fact many healthy, sweet, smart animals have been surrendered not due to their dispositions but due to situations out of the pets’ control. Plus, many pets adopted through shelters and rescues are spayed or neutered, behavior tested, and microchipped.
Many healthy, sweet, smart animals have been surrendered to pet rescues and shelters not due to their dispositions but due to a divorce, a move, or lifestyle change, or a family member developed allergies, or because an owner was not truly ready for the responsibility of pet ownership. Pet rescues and shelters offer adoptable dogs and cats of all ages, breeds, mixes, and sizes. And if you’re truly set on a purebred pet, there are breed-specific rescue groups that work to match up the right owner with the perfect purebred pet.
Finding Your New Pet
When considering a new pet for the whole family, it’s good to involve all members of the household in the process, which means having everyone visit the shelter together to pick out your new dog or cat. That includes your current dog. Some shelters even provide special rooms for dog-to-dog meet-and-greets to ensure the right match. It’s also a smart idea to keep an open mind about the kind of dog or cat you want and work with the shelter experts to find the pet best suited to your lifestyle and temperament.
The Adoption Process
Most shelters have an adoption screening process that includes paperwork plus personal references. Expect to pay a fee that covers vaccinations, microchipping, and spay/neuter surgery, and that helps support the shelter’s costs.
A Period of Adjustment
It’s common to experience a period of adjustment when you bring your new pet home. Remember, your pet has just gone through many changes and is often confused. Dogs are creatures of habit and need time to get used to new smells, schedules, and people. Cats are very territorial and often hide for a few days, even up to a week, when introduced to new surroundings. Have patience—these pet behaviors are normal and this initial adjustment period can last a month to three months. In taking the time to learn about and get used to each other, you and your pet will build a loving relationship that will last for years.
If you’re not ready to take on the fulltime responsibility of pet adoption, consider fostering a homeless pet. That means caring for a rescue or shelter dog or cat for a limited period of time versus taking on the fulltime commitment and responsibility of pet adoption. It’s a very good deed, because pet fostering helps free up space in pet shelters and rescues for more needy animals. Shelters and rescues usually supply pet food and supplies like litter and bowls and will also compensate for any medical care costs. Some pet shelters and rescues even have educational programs on caring for foster pets.
Pets in Need
Most often, the pets that are fostered are ones that aren’t ready for adoption, like newborn puppies and kittens, and pets that have undergone surgery and need special care. Some pet rescues and shelters operate only through a foster program and a network of people willing to take rescued animals into their homes short term, until forever homes can be found for them, in which case, all ages and breed-types will be available for foster care.
Right for You?
Fostering can be a good alternative to pet adoption, especially if you’re not sure you’re ready to adopt, but still want to experience having a pet in your home. Often people end up adopting the pets they foster. But if you’re certain you only want a short-term responsibility, note that it takes a special kind of person to foster a pet, since you will eventually need to give the animal up once a home for it is found, which can be difficult if you’ve become attached. If you think you’d like to foster a pet in need, check with local pet rescues and shelters to find out more about their programs and their present needs.