Oct 19 2010

Are You Ready to Adopt?

When you start thinking about adding a pet to your family, it seems like all signs are pointing to ‘yes’. You see a car go by that has a dogs head sticking out of the window. You can’t get in enough cuddle time with your friends’ cat. Before you make googly eyes at the first available pet you see, stop and ask yourself if you are fully ready for the commitment, time and cost of a pet.

First, I know it’s hard to by pass puppies and kittens. They are so cute and small- what’s not to love? But you have to think, “Am I ready for the responsibility that comes with owning, not only a pet, but a young pet?” Owning a puppy or kitten is a lot like bringing a 2 year old toddler home. They don’t fully understand right from wrong yet. They don’t know not to chew on the carpet. They don’t know not to scratch on the couch. Everything is a learning experience for them. If you don’t have the time or patience to handle a toddler, you will probably have a hard time handling a puppy or kitten.

Are you in the right financial area of your life to afford a pet? You would think this would be the first thing people think of, but typically, it’s the last. Pets can be expensive- some more than others. You need to consider the cost of annual vet visits (and the possibility of an emergency vet visit), the cost of food, the accessories (leashes, collars, bowls, toys, etc) and, if you live in an apartment, the cost of having a pet in your home.

Do you have the time for a pet? If you go to work all day and then stay out all night you might want to reconsider if you have time. If you balance your life with kids in one hand, job in the other, and extracurricular activities are barely balancing on the tip of your nose then you should reconsider if you have time. And before you start thinking “well, I probably don’t have time for a dog, but a cat will do!” re-think! Yes, cats tend to take care of themselves but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy social interaction with their human. They’re not devoid of all feeling (c’mon, they hold grudges better than some humans, of course they have feelings).

If you’ve gone over all the details and have decided that you are ready to add an addition to your new home then head to your local shelter! There’s animals of all sorts (in the last year at Wayside we have had bearded dragons, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs, bunnies, a pig and a chicken) to choose from. Every animal has their own personality, so take your time getting to know them. It’s a big decision adding a new addition to the family, and even a bigger decision having to choose one that will fit!

Lastly, have fun and take your time. You will be excited but don’t rush into a decision! This new addition will be apart of your life for quite some time to come so you want to make the best match you can. Don’t be afraid to adopt an older pet. Typically, shelters have more information on older pets and you also get to see their true temperaments instead of having to wait a few years for them to grow into one. Also, try and set up house before you pick up your new pet. The transition can be less scary and easier on them if everything is already in place! Are you still unsure if you are ready? Feel free to speak to one of Wayside Waifs adoption counselors. They are here to help and are more than willing to answer any questions you may have. Ready, set, adopt!

Written by Alyssa Willet
Adoptions Supervisor at Wayside Waifs

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