Before Adopting

If you’re like most of us, falling in love with a pet is easy. And no wonder! Sharing your home with a four-legged friend can be one of life’s greatest joys. Pets give us unconditional loyalty and acceptance, provide constant companionship, and even help relieve stress after a hard day’s work.

Adopting a pet, though, is a big decision. Pets require time and money as well as a long-term commitment. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through your decision before you adopt a companion.

If you’re thinking about adopting, you are probably a responsible and caring person, but before you make the decision to bring a furry friend into your life, consider the following questions:

Why do you want a pet?
It’s amazing how many people fail to ask themselves this simple question. Be sure it’s a thoughtful decision. Remember pets may be with you 10, 15, even 20 years.

Do you have time for a pet?
Animals cannot be ignored because you’re tired or busy. They require food, water, exercise, care, and companionship every day. Many animals are homeless simply because their owners didn’t realize how much time it took to care for them.

Can you afford a pet?
The costs of pet ownership can be quite high. Veterinary care, grooming, toys, food, litter, and other expenses add up quickly.

Are you prepared to deal with special problems a pet can cause?
Flea infestations, scratched-up furniture, accidents from animals who aren’t yet housetrained, and unexpected medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of pet ownership.

• Can you have a pet where you live?
Many rental communities don’t allow pets or have restrictions. Make sure you know what they are before you consider adopting.

Is it a good time for you to adopt a pet?
If you have kids under the age of 6, for instance, you might consider waiting a few years before you adopt a companion. Likewise, If you’re a student, in the military, or travel frequently as part of your work, waiting until you settle down is wise.

• Are your living arrangements suitable for the pet you have in mind?
Animal size is not the only variable to consider. Energy level and age also are factors. Before adopting, do some research to ensure you choose an animal who will fit into your lifestyle and living arrangements.

• Do you know who will care for your pet if you are unable?
You’ll need either reliable friends and neighbors or money to pay for a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.

When you adopt a pet, you are making a commitment to care for the animal for his or her lifetime. Please think before you adopt. Sharing your life with a companion animal can bring incredible rewards, but only if you’re willing to make the necessary commitments of time, money, responsibility, and love – for the life of the pet.