Keen on adopting a dog or cat? Here’s a handy checklist to make sure you’re ready to get a furry friend home.
Keeping the following points in mind BEFORE you adopt saves a lot of trouble for you, the animal and the shelter.
1. A pet is a life-long commitment. Having one involves the same level of dedication, discipline, and responsibility as having a child. Will you be able to provide this, not just when the animal is cute and tiny, but when, inevitably, it’ll be grey and old and quite possibly needing your full attention? OR if it undergoes a serious illness, will you be able to shoulder the financial and personal costs to support it?
The most frequently abandoned animals are senior/ill dogs and cats. Your future pet should not be a part of this statistic.
2. A dog requires a lot of time, attention and patience from you. More so in the beginning, so that it gets used to its new surroundings and new family.
Will at least one member of the family be able to stay home to ensure the animal is not left alone for too long?
3. Animals require periodic visits to the vet – these visits take time, effort and money.
Also, just like with humans, an animal may require an emergency visit at some point and this may happen at any time – day or night (although we always hope such a scenario will not arise). Can you provide this for your pet?
4. Keeping pets is expensive! As your pet grows up, it will require more food and more resources, perhaps even more visits to the vet. Often, people end up abandoning pets because they just were not prepared for the higher costs as their animal grew older. Are you in an appropriately financially sound position to support your pet as it grows up?
5. A dog at home needs walks at least twice a day. You gotta commit to walking your dog come rain or shine – will you be ready for this?
6. If you adopt a puppy, before it is entirely potty trained, you have to be prepared to have your house in a mess. Dogs do need some time to be fully trained and even so, young dogs do have accidents sometimes when they eliminate inside the house – will you be alright with this?
7. Sometimes, puppies can be quite high-energy. Obedience training does take some time. Pet families are required to have a lot of patience and love during the time that the puppy grows out of this stage – will you be able to do this too?
8. With a pet, traveling and/or overnight visits to places as a family will be difficult, unless you choose to stay at pet-friendly hotels. Even so, traveling with pets is tough (both on the pet and you), and involves extra costs. You may decide to leave your pet at a reputable boarding facility, however, this too is expensive and often leaves animals anxious and scared. If you are someone who travels regularly or values traveling and going on vacations, adopting a pet will require certain compromises. Are you ready for this?
9. An important aspect of being a responsible pet owner is having them spayed/neutered when they come of age, upon consultation with your vet. Will you be able to commit to this?
10. If you have children and/or old people at home, it would bode well for you to have a discussion with a shelter as to whether they have an animal that could live in adjustment with your family’s needs at home. Specifically, with children at home, constant supervision is required both for the child’s safety as well as the safety of the animal. Both the child and the animal need to be taught how to interact with the other and require you to be vigilant to monitor their interactions. Can you provide this?
Please remember, none these points are meant as discouragement for you to bring your future best friend home. This is just a brief guide so that first-time pet parents know what is needed of them… We hope with all our hearts you and your new pet-child have a blast sharing amazing moments and making wonderful memories together.
The unconditional love, happiness and laughter an animal brings home are worth every second of compromise and/or adjustment you may have to make.