Things to Consider Before Adopting
Falling in love with a pet is easy and pet ownership is extremely rewarding. Adopting a pet is a big decision, however. Dogs and cats require a lot of time, money, and commitment. HSSET encourages you to think through your decision before you adopt a companion animal. Our experienced adoption counselors will gladly help you find an animal that’s likely to be a good fit for your lifestyle and living arrangements.
- Why do you want a pet?A pet is a long commitment, lasting between ten to twenty years on average. It’s important to really consider exactly what you’re looking for in an animal companion, and why. Many people are unaware that dog breeds are created for different reasons, such as herding or hunting or simply for laying in their chosen person’s lap. Similarly, cats also display a variety of temperaments ranging from the stereotype of aloofness to extreme cuddle-bugs that are almost, well, dog-like. So please, ask yourself this question and try to be really precise with why you’re looking to add a new member to your family. The answer may surprise you!
- Do you have time for a(nother) pet?Just as a pet commitment can last upwards of twenty years, the daily time necessary to keep an animal in proper health is quite comparable to caring for a young human being. While some animals are perfectly fine being left to their own devices for a few hours, others need almost constant attention. Some of that energy may fade with age, but no one can guarantee that it will. Regardless of their temperament, all pets require food, water, exercise, and some amount of companionship every single day of every single year. Many animals in the shelter are here because their owners didn’t realize how much time goes into proper pet ownership.
- Is your pet a good fit with your family?Before taking a new animal home it’s a wonderful idea to have them meet your entire family at the shelter–meaning every person and pet who you know will be living in the house. While gaining a family is a great thing, we find it’s best to be sure that everyone’s personalities will mesh before taking the animal into unfamiliar territory. Because these animals generally have histories with previous homes, much like people they are sometimes sensitive to “strange” things. For instance, many animals are shy or even terrified of young children or other animals. Some animals have issues with people who look similar to persons they were scared of for a variety of reasons. This sort of incompatibility is impossible to account for until the situation arises. Meeting before the adoption is finalized is the best and easiest way to iron out issues before they become a serious complication.
- Can you have a pet where you live?Many rental properties either do not allow pets or have restrictions on breed types and/or sizes. As part of our routine procedure HSSET does contact all rental property owners to be certain of their restrictions, and to make certain the proper protocols for adding a pet to the lease have been followed before we agree to an adoption.
- Are you prepared to deal with special problems that a pet can cause?Like any living creature, pets come with their own assortment of little problems. Flea infestations, scratched up floors and furniture, chewed shoes, “accidents” in the house, a litter box to clean, and the occasional medical emergency are all par for the course with any pet. While many of these items can be managed–such as flea preventatives–others are simply inevitable. If you are new to pet ownership, really consider if you are willing to put in the time to properly house train or re-house train a pet who may have behavioral complications when entering a new territory.
- Is it a good time for you to adopt a pet?Another similarity between owning animals and raising children is the necessity of a predictable schedule. While life can be strange sometimes, knowing that you will be home within a small window of time every day–say, between five and five-thirty–to let the dog out is absolutely essential. Animals thrive in the predictability that a stable lifestyle breeds; especially when dogs are crate trained or kept indoors for long periods of time. Without this stability their behavior can become just as erratic, leading to an increase in complications such as indoor “accidents” and stress- or boredom-induced destruction of property. Some animals, especially cats, will even take to peeing on their owners beds or clothing on purpose as a display their displeasure. If your life is in flux, or your schedule is completely unpredictable, perhaps waiting would be the best course of action.
- Are your living arrangements suitable for the animal you have in mind?Just as animals have different personalities, they also have different energetic needs. For instance, even with frequent walks or trips to a dog park living in an apartment would be difficult for a large, high-energy dog. Sometimes even small, high energy dogs or cats would have an issue with a smaller apartment. But for people who have an incredibly active lifestyle, or who have a house with a yard, such an animal would be a perfect fit. Similarly, some animals have much less energy, preferring to sleep or stay indoors as much as possible. This could be frustrating for persons with active lifestyles, but wonderful those who also prefer staying at home
Knowing your answers to these highly important questions can be the difference between finding your perfect partner and an imminent return. We want to be sure that you get the right animal to fit your family the first time–a desire in both your and the pets’ best interest. If you don’t know the answers, or are struggling to understand your own feelings on the subject, feel free to come to the shelter and speak with our adoption counselors. They’re here to help you make this decision.