Please consider adopting your next pet
Shelters in the US are sadly overfilled with dogs, cats and other animals that have been found running loose, confiscated or surrendered by their previous owners. Meanwhile, puppy mills and "backyard breeders" continue to breed more animals looking for a quick buck; creating all sorts of health problems, in addition to reducing the amount of potential homes for animals in shelters.
It can be a vicious cycle, but you can help. Consider shelter adoption for your next addition to the family. With the vast amount of resources on the Internet and your local community, you will be able to make an informed decision about the right pet for you.
Find your perfect pet match
Many shelters these days do some type of "personality matching" to ensure the best match for each pet. An animal that is adopted, only to be let loose or returned to the shelter, can suffer more damage than waiting a bit longer to be adopted in the first place.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has developed the Meet Your Match™ assessment tests to find out what type of pet best suits your lifestyle, and several shelters around the country employ this assessment test for prospective pet adopters.
There are also many sites that one can do an online "pet match" quiz. I have taken several, and haven't found any particular one to be super accurate for my pet personality, but the quizzes do get you thinking about many aspects of pets and your lifestyle. A little peek at what to expect for your life with your new dog or cat. Here is an example of a personality quiz for choosing a dog.
While most quizzes suggest a particular breed of dog, it is important to keep in mind that these are just suggestions, and mixed breeds often share dominant breed traits. Shelter workers will be able to assist you in mixed breed personality/trait identification.
What is the best age to adopt?
It is important to consider the age of the pet you are adopting. Kittens and puppies are always adorable, but they do require a bit more work and a lot more supervision. Here are some articles to consider on this topic:
- Should I get an adult cat or kitten for my first cat?
- Do I Want an Adult Dog or a Puppy?
- Top Ten Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog
What if I am looking for a specific breed?
Many breeds of dogs and cats are represented by various breed rescue groups. These are rescue organizations that specialize in one particular breed. Like other animals up for adoption, they may be rescues, strays or surrendered by their owners. Breed rescue groups are usually very well networked and can sometimes arrange transportation of a pet if the adoption is approved.
General adoption sites like Petfinder.com offer searching by breed, but is not a breed-specific rescue group. Your local shelter may also be able to put you in touch with local breed rescue groups. Additionally, searching online for the breed you are interested in with the word "rescue" will show what resources are available.
I want to help, but cannot adopt at this time
Recognizing when you are unable to adopt is just as important as adoption. In this case, consider fostering an animal that is waiting for adoption. This is taking care of an animal in your home to help ease the load in shelters (thus potentially saving more lives) and help socialize the animal to living in a home.
- Fostering a Senior Dog
- Joys of Fostering
- Become a Dog Foster Home
- Become a Cat Foster Home
What about pets other than dogs and cats?
Other pets are also available for adoption at many shelters. Depending on each facility, you may find rabbits, guinea pigs, snakes and other reptiles avilable for adoption. Be sure to check out the About.com site for Exotic Pets for more information about exotic pet rescue and adoption.
Please consider adopting a pet. It is a win-win situation and a life-saver, too.
Adoption Resources > Online Pet Adoption Guide