a pet can be exciting, but one needs to consider a number of factors. One
source to look into is your local shelter or humane society. First consider
the requirements of a new pet. Size, energy level, compatibility with children,
grooming and maintenance needs, are all important factors in deciding what
type of pet to adopt. Picking a pet that is cute, but doesn’t fit
you or your family’s lifestyle can lead to problems and difficult
decisions down the road. Choosing wisely can spare the family and pet needless
heartbreak, and the reward is you and your family get to enjoy a wonderful pet.
There are a number of options when adopting. Cats in particular, tend
to be available from a myriad of sources. Friends, neighbors, and family
often know someone whose cat got out and accidentally ended up with kittens. ‘Accidental’ puppies
may be available too, but often breeding is intentional. If purchasing
a puppy from a breeder it is important to choose a reputable breeder, as
your puppy will have a better chance of being healthy for both the short
and long term. Also the care of your puppy’s littermates and parents
will be important to a reputable breeder, yet may not be to others. Pet
stores are another source of new pets, but generally not recommended. If buying from a pet store make
sure they can clearly tell you where your puppy came from and that they
ensure the health of the puppy. Some pet stores obtain their animals from
disreputable sources that most any animal-lover would hate to support.
These sources also tend to provide pets that are more prone to having medical
issues. A good pet store will have no problem telling you precisely how
and under what conditions they obtained their pets.
Many pet stores now offer adoption of resue animals, and may give a rescue or shelter particular adoption days to showcase available pets. If getting a pet from a store, this is generally the best way of doing it.
Shelters, particularly no-kill shelter, are an excellent place to obtain
a pet for a number of reasons. First you are not only saving your pet,
but you are opening a space for another pet to be saved. Second, a good
shelter will provide your new pet the basic shots and immunizations needed
as part of the adoption fee. Frequently, shelters will also
give spay/neuter certificates that allow you to have your pet fixed either
for free or at a dramatically reduced price. The overall cost of adoption
is usually much less than that of a breeder or store. Typically there is
also a good selection of animals at a shelter so that you can adopt a pet
that fits your needs. Also, many shelters will keep eye out for pets
that fit certain requirements such as size or breed if you ask. While it
is more difficult to find purebreds at a shelter it is not impossible and
there are more and more breed specific rescues available that can match
you with a particular breed.
However, there are benefits to adopting mutts
too. Mutts often avoid genetic defects that purebreds may be prone to.
Mutts can offer the best of both worlds as the ‘doodle dog’ craze
shows. Poodles mixed with a Lab or a Golden have become extremely popular
as they offer many characteristics of the retriever with the more manageable
coat of a Poodle. A Poodle's coat is better suited for people with allergies too. Most other mixed breeds, while
still referred to as mutts, can similarly offer the positive characteristics
of each breed.
There are a few potential negatives to shelter pets. One of the most
common is choosing a puppy that appears to be a small or medium size breed,
yet grows larger than expected. Second, is that the background and parents
of a shelter pet are often not known. Knowing the parents of a pet can give
clues to size, health, and disposition of a pet. This typically isn’t
that important when picking a puppy as most shelters will check puppies
for good general health. However, when adopting an adult pet their history and prior
treatment can be more of an issue. Pets that have not been treated well
by a prior owner, can still be wonderful pets, but may have particular
health or behavior problems due to their previous poor treatment. Yet these pets also tend to
be extremely grateful and loyal for receiving a second chance. Most shelters
also test adult pets for their compatibility with children and other pets, test for temperament too. Finally, shelters also
vary, picking a good no-kill shelter is wise as the quality of care tends
to be better, and you will be supporting a quality organization that will
help save the lives of more animals.