Make a Difference, Adopt a Shelter Pet
If you're thinking about getting a new pet, consider going to an animal shelter to find that new family member. There are about 3,500 shelters in the United States that serve an estimated 5 to 7 million homeless animals, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Why adopt from a shelter?
• You will make a pet happy. By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency, you'll help a homeless pet find a new home.
• You will receive a healthy pet. Most shelters follow strict medical protocols including examinations when pets come in and vaccinations before they leave. In addition to medical care, shelters also screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to match each pet with the perfect family. Animal shelters have happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home.
• You will support your community and save money at the same time. Adopting from an animal shelter is usually less expensive, as your local shelter will just ask for a moderate adoption fee that will mainly cover basic routine medical care costs. Shelter pets are also usually already spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Finally, you help promote responsible pet ownership through your community.
Questions to ask
When you visit an animal shelter, ask the staff some key questions. Ask about:
• The pet's history - Find out as much as you can about the pet's background. Was it a stray or given up by its owner? Did it come from a loving home? Did it live with other pets or with children?
• Medical and behavioral assessments - Find out what evaluations have been done and what lifestyle would suit it best. Ask about the pet's interaction with the staff, and what their impressions are.
• The adoption timeline and process - Some shelters will let you take an animal home right away, while others take a slower approach. Find out what to expect up front.
• Spaying/neutering - Most shelters have policies to make sure that animals leave spayed or neutered. Some take care of this before the animals are available for adoption. Others schedule the procedure when the animal goes home and either finalize the adoption once it is performed, or refund the spay/neuter deposit once proof is provided.