Your Guide to Adopting
� You�ve been thinking about welcoming an animal companion into your home for quite awhile. Then, one day, everything is in place. Your heart opens all the way, and you know that it�s time.
You�ve decided to get a new pet because:
A) The kids� whining has finally worn you down.
B) You hope to attract babes while walking your dog.
C) You feel terrible for the homeless dogs.
D) That purebred puppy in the pet store window is cute and golden, which happens to be the fashion color this year.
E) You�ve been thinking about welcoming an animal companion into your home for quite awhile. Then, one day, everything is in place. Your heart opens all the way, and you know that it�s time.
have taken in pets for all of the above reasons, the right answer, of course, must be �E.� It is crucially important to consider the impact a new pet will have on your family, as well as the feelings of the animal, before you adopt.
� This Time, It�s for Keeps
A visit to an animal shelter or rescue group showing will prove that acting on impulse or appearance is not the way to welcome a pet into your home. You stroll past kennels filled with hopeful animals, young and old, purebred and mixed breed, and must choose just one pet who�ll depend on you the rest of its life.
Cards on each cage door tell their stories: This 2-year-old beagle was brought to a vet to be treated for a broken leg, but his owner never came back to claim him. That 75Lb mixed breed was discovered homeless on a freeway. This poodle�s owner died.
They�ve already seen bad luck. They are all intensely appealing. Do your homework before deciding.
� Will Your Home and Life Accommodate a
First, you, your kids and all the adults in your household should agree that you want a dog. Look down the road for the life of the animal, which could be 10, even 20 years.
� Do you have the patience and commitment to train
your dog and understand his ways of
communication? Dogs thrive on obedience classes;
they�re generally happier when trained.
� Is anyone in the house allergic? Different species
and breeds elicit different reactions. Spend time with
a similar pet at a friend�s house before choosing
� How old are your children? If they�re under six, pet
shelter experts recommend that you wait a few
years. Puppies have extra-sharp teeth and claws,
and strike back when teased. Toy-sized dogs may
be too delicate for an exuberant toddler; large dogs
can knock a child over. Some breeds, despite size,
are domineering or high-strung.
� Is an adult willing to shoulder ultimate responsibility
for the animal�s care? Pets can teach a child about
loyalty and responsibility, but you can�t expect a
child to do all the work of feeding and walking.
� How much time does your family spend at home?
Animals like regular schedules. Dogs need to be
walked and exercised. Do you know who�ll take care
of your pet when you go on a trip?
� Does your yard have a fence? Does your lease or
condo board allow pets?
� Can you tolerate some damage to furniture and
floors until your new pet becomes accustomed to
your home? Will you take accidents, even flea
infestations, in stride?
� Do you have the financial means to support a dog?
Shelter adoption and rescue group fees are usually
minimal, compared to prices paid to a breeder or pet
store. But the costs of medical care, training, food,
grooming, toys, and other supplies add up.