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Every current pet owner at some point officially decided that they were going to get a pet. It typically takes some time to get to this point, as bringing a pet into your family is a large commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’re taking responsibility for another life! You should be certain that you and your family are ready for that responsibility, especially if it’s a puppy or kitten, which requires more time and attention to satisfy their growing needs.
Once you’ve decided you’re ready for a pet, the next step is to figure out where you’re going to get one and what you plan on getting. Let’s say you decide that you’re ready to welcome a nice, loving dog into your home. It then really comes down to two options at this point: you can either adopt a dog or you can buy one.
When it comes to adopting, the first place you’ll want to look is your local shelter. There should be plenty of shelters around your area that would be more than happy to have you adopt one of their animals. On the other hand, if you were to decide to buy one, you could go to one of many pet stores or buy from a breeder if you have a specific breed in mind.
The Pet Adoption Process
How It Works & What to Expect
Shelters are always eager to have people interested in adopting stop into the shelter. If it were up to the shelter, they’d have all the animals in a loving home, but what they won’t do is let you just pick an animal and leave with it. There is a process when it comes to adopting an animal.
Shelters are typically very easygoing in terms of letting you see or play with whatever animal you show interest in, even allowing you a private room (when possible) to have some time alone with the animal to ensure compatibility between the two of you.
Once you’ve decided that you’ve found an animal you’ve bonded with and would like to take it home, you can request to file an application to adopt that animal.
When it comes to the application, you can expect to fill out a couple of pages worth of paperwork that asks for information on you, where you work, your housing situation, how often you’re at home, your history with previous pets, what happened to them or where they are now, etc. If you are renting, they may reach out to the leasing office of the development you live in, or the landlord from whom you’re renting, to ensure that you’re allowed to have a pet on the premises.
The main goal of the shelter is to not only find a home for the animal but to also make sure they are placing the animal into a good situation where they will have a long, healthy and loving life.
Once your application is accepted, it’s possible that they’ll let you take your new furry friend home with you that day! Most shelters make you purchase a leash, food, and a collar before leaving so that they can guarantee the animal will have the most basic necessities right off the bat.
In some instances, shelters may require you to wait a day or two, and sometimes even up to a week to take your new pet home. This may be for a couple of reasons ranging from having to file the required paperwork to the animal needing to be neutered or spayed before they’re able to leave the shelter.
Why You Should Adopt a Pet
Deciding whether to adopt or buy your next (or even first) pet can be a difficult decision, but given the following reasons to adopt a pet, you should feel confident in making your decision.
One of the simplest but certainly not the most important reasons for choosing adoption over buying is simply because adoption costs much less than deciding to buy a cat or dog. Depending on the shelter you’re adopting an animal from, you’re sometimes able to adopt an animal for under $50 if the animal is past its puppy or kitten stage. The adoption fee is usually spent on food and resources for the other animals at the shelter.
Puppies at shelters will typically be more costly to adopt, but this is only because the shelter is usually the one to have neutered or spayed them and they’re looking to be reimbursed for the price of the procedure. Even by paying that fee, you’re likely to leave with a puppy at the cost of $200–300, rather than a couple of thousand dollars, which is a considerable savings.
Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter animal shelters in the United States every year, and this doesn’t take into account the ones that are already in shelters. Approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. Of these 6.5 million animals, approximately 1.5 million are euthanized every single year. Animals are being euthanized at an alarming rate just because there’s nowhere for them to go and shelters need the space occupied by them. Around 4,100 cats and dogs are euthanized every day.
Most shelters operate off of donations that they receive and generally struggle to pay the bills needed for them to operate on a month-to-month basis. Dog food, toys, and other resources add up significantly when you have anywhere from 50 to a couple of hundred animals residing in a facility. These animals are all hoping to find loving homes.
Animal shelters follow a 72-hour rule, which means that they only need to wait a minimum of 72 hours after bringing in a stray animal before they’re legally authorized to euthanize it. This is the sad reality that many animals face if they’re left unadopted and in shelters.
Stopping Puppy Mills
What most people don’t know is that those adorable little puppies they see at their local pet stores were probably raised in a puppy mill. If you don’t know what a puppy mill is, it’s a facility where dogs are bred so that breeders are able to bring in as much profit form offspring as possible.
There are between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders currently operating in the United States. What’s not known is the number of unlicensed puppy mills in existence. These puppy mills can be so large that they contain more than 1,000 breeding dogs at the same time.
Responsible breeders understand the importance of the health of a parent, as well as the genetic pairing required to produce strong litters that will improve the breed. Operators of puppy mills don’t take these things into account, simply focusing on producing as many puppies as they can, causing legitimate genetic flaws in the breeding pools of the dogs. Along with this, the abuse that these animals can encounter is disturbing. If more people adopted, rather than bought dogs, these puppy mills would be forced to stop business.
There are plenty of lovable animals in shelters across the United States who just need to be given a home and an opportunity to prove their worth to your family. Give them that opportunity. Consider adoption over purchasing.