October is Adopt-A-Shelter Pet Month

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October 8, 2010
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This month seems to have a lot going on for people and for pets. It’s Adopt-A-Shelter Pet month and a great time to think about adding a new forever friend to your home. Contrary to some beliefs, shelter animals are not there because they are bad or strays. Some were turned in by owners who couldn’t care for their pets anymore due to any number of reasons ranging from financial problems to changes in routines that didn’t work well for the pet. Some animals are brought in as strays and some do have some behavior problems but many are just former house pets who need new homes.

There are some benefits for you if you choose to adopt from a shelter. Many of the animals are already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and dewormed. If any animal has come to the shelter with a health issue, chances are it is being addressed or has been treated. The goal of a shelter is to adopt out an animal and never see it come back so they do all they can to help out potential new owners.

Things To Ask:

If you find a cat or dog or small pet that you are interested in adopting, there are a few questions you should ask:

1: What is the history they have on file of the pet?

2: Why was it brought in?

3: Any health problems or chronic issues?

4: Age of the pet and is the pet up to date on vaccines?

5: How is the pet with staff?

6: Any behavior problems?

7: Does the shelter offer consultation for behavior problems, training, or follow up programs to help you and your new pet?

Many shelters and rescue organizations will have a screening process to make sure you will match up well with a pet you’re interested in. For instance, if you find yourself really liking a border collie but don’t have the time in your schedule to exercise the dog, they will ask you to consider another pet that matches your energy level and lifestyle. You will be interviewed and asked for references, your landlord’s information (if you rent), previous pets you’ve owned and the vet you use, and how many people live in the house. Some shelters will conduct a follow-up interview if you have another pet such as a dog, so the potential new dog and your current dog can meet. They will also urge you to bring the whole family to see how everyone gets along.

How To Choose A New Forever Friend:

1: Think about your lifestyle and schedule. If you can dedicate time to train and exercise an active dog, great! If you cannot, don’t choose a working dog or hyper dog.

2: Expect to spend some time at the shelter observing and meeting potential new friends.

3: Avoid animals that look too fearful if you have children. A fearful dog or cat may not adjust well to the activity in a house with children and may hide or nip.

4: Be prepared to not adopt on your first visit. As much as you may want a new pet, sometimes the ones currently at the shelter just aren’t right for you.

5: Broaden your search to regional shelters and rescue groups as well as your local humane society and municipal shelter. Your forever friend might be 40 miles away or the next town over!

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