Faced with the decision to feed their families or feed their pets, many animal lovers are making the difficult decision to surrender their furry friends. Many others are moving from single-family homes to multifamily dwellings, which discourage — or even ban — four-legged pets from the premises. And still others discover upon bringing home a shelter dog or cat that he doesn’t fit in with the family for any number of reasons. “Needs country home,” “best around adults only,” “severe allergies” and “family moving” are frequent reasons given for finding Spot a new home.
If you’ve been thinking of adopting a cat or dog, don’t let emotions take over. It’s important to do your homework to ensure Max or Lucy is indeed in his or her forever home.
One of the first things to consider, according to the Better Business Bureau, is whether or not you have the ability to provide for the animal in the long term. Puppies are cute, but they require the most time and patience. And considering that many dogs and cats can live 15 or more years, are ready for that lifelong commitment?
Second, you need to be realistic about who is the primary pet
provider. While the kids may lay out all the reasons why they should have a pet and promise to take care of it, the fact is that much of the responsibility will fall on your shoulders. Are you ready for that?
And third, consider where you will be in one or five years from now. Will you be moving? Making a lifestyle change? If so, are you willing to relocate your pet as well?
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself: Can I afford a pet? Annual cost for a healthy dog is between $815 and $1,000. Factor in health issues and that number can easily double or triple.
When looking for a family pet, be sure to check out animal shelters and rescue organizations as well as classified ads. If you deal with a private breeder, ask a ton of questions, one of the most important being whether or not the dog can be returned. A responsible breeder will offer to take the animal back if things don’t work out for any reason, and not just for a limited time. This ensures that ultimately the dog finds a happy home.
Do you have happy pet adoption tales to share?