March 19, 2013
Adopting from an Animal Shelter or Rescue Group
Animal shelters and rescue groups are your best source for a new pet
Shelters large and small always have a great selection of animals looking for new homes, from cats and dogs to birds and small animals, to horses and livestock. In fact, any type of animal available for sale at your local pet store or breeder is probably waiting for adoption in a nearby shelter.
Why a shelter or rescue group?
- 6–8 million pets end up in shelters each year; half of those will probably not be adopted.
- 25 percent of pets in shelters are purebreds. Breed-specific rescue groups always have purebred dogs and puppies looking for new homes.
- Most pets end up homeless through no fault of their own—"moving" and "landlord issues" are the top reasons people give for relinquishing their pets, meaning shelters and rescue groups are full of wonderful, family-ready pets.
- Pets adopted from shelters and rescue groups typically cost less than pets purchased or even acquired for free—once you add in the cost of vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, microchip, dewormer, and other "extras" included in your adoption fee, you'll probably be surprised what a bargain an adopted pet really is!
- Most shelters and rescue groups conduct through behavioral analysis of each pet to ensure that they will be the right fit for your family, dramatically improving the chances your new pet will fit right in.
- Shelters and rescue groups can provide advice on making your relationship with your pet the best it can be for the rest of his or her life, so you’ll never have to go it alone!
Do your homework
So now you’ve decided to add a new pet to your family. The first question to answer is what kind of pet will be the best fit for your household? Do you have enough time to devote to the daily needs of a dog? Is there someone in your household who is allergic to cats? Have you considered a non-traditional pet such as a rat or another small animal? Doing your homework in advance will make your search easier and increase the chances that your new pet will be a happy addition to the family.
Now go surfing!
Once you have decided on the type of pet you are interested in there are a number of websites out there that bring the world of animals waiting for new homes right to your laptop. The Shelter Pet Project is the most comprehensive source of information on adopting a shelter pet. Don’t be surprised if you are inundated with options!
Waiting for just the right one?
If for some reason you don’t find what you’re looking for right away, don’t be discouraged. Sadly shelters and rescue groups receive new animals every day, so keep checking back with them. Some groups also keep a waiting list, so they can call you if an animal matching your preference becomes available.
Visit your local shelter
Not every shelter or every pet is listed on the Shelter Pet Project, though, so it’s important to check the websites of your local shelter as well. And don’t forget to visit your local shelter in person—sometimes all it takes to find your perfect match is to look directly into a pet’s eyes and fall in love.