Chatting to my younger cousin over the weekend, I realized how little many people understand about animal adoption. Not only did she not know how to approach the whole thing. Adoption simply did not even occur to her. She assumed she would have to buy and not adopt a dog from a shelter and yet, there are many more advantages to animal adoption from a shelter.
Why Choose Animal Adoption?
According to my cousin, dogs and cats for adoption are more aggressive and harder to live with. There are many myths about animal adoption but this one is possibly the saddest one. Who wants to be judged before having even been given a chance?
Of course, there are some problem animals but the majority of dogs and cats for adoption didn’t end up in this situation because of something they did. In fact, many animals get abandoned by their owners or they get lost on the streets because of some terrible accident.
Choosing to adopt a dog means you’re giving those dogs a home life again. In many cases, you’re also saving them from death. In the US alone, 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because of overpopulation. That’s over 7000 deaths every day.
With animal adoption, you can also get to know your dog or cat before you make the final decision. There’s a lot less risk involved of things not working out than when buying a puppy. No one knows what the puppy is going to grow into.
For those of you who find the thought of training a puppy exhausting, you can also adopt a 2-year-old dog or even an older one. Adult dogs are much easier to train than high-energy puppies still exploring life.
Let’s also not forget that if you adopt a dog, you avoid possible scams as well as supporting puppy mills. Unfortunately, many focus on profits rather than animal well-being. Of course, not all breeders are bad but they can be costly.
Research Before You Adopt a Dog
If you’re not ready yet to consider dogs or cats for adoption, why not spend some time socializing with them? Shelters need volunteers to keep their animals happy on a daily basis. Although, you also gain a boost to your well-being. Read all about how in our blog: visiting an animal shelter can make you happier.
1- Observe and spend time together
Before you adopt a dog, the best thing to do is to spend time observing how they interact with other dogs and people. You can see them in their natural state in a humane shelter where they’re allowed to roam free and be themselves.
People often spend several weekends at their local shelter before going ahead with animal adoption. That way, they can get to know the dog or the cat and get to know them in their current home. This makes the transition to your home less daunting because the animal now knows you. There’s one less unknown.
2- Ask questions
The best shelters will do everything they can to support the dogs or cats for adoption. They are there to answer all your questions on the history and temperament of the animal. They’ll be able to tell you their quirks, favorite foods and how they play with others.
Most importantly, the best shelters make sure they have a training program for their dogs. While your dog might not be perfect, you know they have at least the basics before coming to your home.
Other important questions to ask are what level of energy to expect as well as what are their daily needs. Some animals might need regular supplements or eye drops for example. Of course, you need to check their vaccination history and regular health check-up information.
3- Home trials
One of the great advantages, when you adopt a dog or a cat, is that you can test things out. This can be a big change for both your family and the animal so sometimes we break things down into small steps.
Letting the animal visit for a few hours or a few days at a time can be a good start. The best shelters will also do a home visit as part of their process to make sure that you can support the needs of the animal. For example, dogs need a garden.
4- Do the paperwork
You’ll soon see what type of shelter you’re working with depending on the professionalism of their process. They want things to work out but they also don’t want to cut any corners. So, you’ll clearly need to prove who you are but some shelters might also ask for referrals.
Either way, you’ll also sign a transfer of ownership document. If you already have some animals, you might need to prove their vaccination records to confirm that you are a responsible owner.
5- Keep in touch with the shelter
The best shelters do a follow-up check after a period of time. Even if they don’t, it’s always good to keep in touch in case you need advice regarding vet or food, for instance. Also, for older animals, their shelter family always remains part of their family and visits from Shelter Mum are always happy days for everyone.
Where’s Next For You?
Animal adoption is a wonderful experience of getting to know a dog or a cat and then welcoming them into your home. You put all the chances on your side by making sure you do your research with the shelter. Find an animal that suits your lifestyle and then do some trials. The more preparation you do, the easier the transition and the happier everyone will be. You’ll enjoy a new family member and all the joy that comes with it.