When you are looking to get a dog, consider adopting a homeless animal from your local shelter. Whether you want a puppy or a mature dog, a purebred or a mixed breed, your shelter has the best selection of animals.
As an additional advantage, you can be sure that all animals are in good health and don’t show any signs of abnormal behavior. Most animals from shelters will already be spayed and neutered, the costs are normally included in the adoption fee. Other good sources are pet shops that have monthly/weekly adoption programs.
Puppies, kittens, actually all young animals are usually very adorable. But these young animals require a great commitment of energy and time from their owners. Some of these really young ones almost require a 24/7 presence of the owner, which is hard to commit to with our work and busy schedules. If your daughter wants just a cute toy, get her one of these beautiful and cute gifts. Not a puppy.
An older animal is a much better option when you work, it does not need that much attention, care and exercise or stimulation as a young puppy. And don’t underestimate the advantage of a dog already been housebroken! Most of them have in addition the “bad teen-years”, as I like to call it, behind. Your furniture will probably survive without chew marks, your cables and carpets also.
I most cases more mature dogs will have gone through some obedience training and adult cats are almost certainly litter-box trained unless the cat lived previously outside only.
Older pets may be less time-consuming but they still require your devotion, time and commitment. When you adopt a pet make sure to remember that you promise to care for the animal FOR LIFE!
Do younger animals connect better with their owners?
Forming a strong connection with a pet has little to with the animal’s age at the time of adoption. It’s more the result of care, commitment and time spent with your animal. Some people, especially with young children, prefer puppies or kittens. In my opinion, this is not the best idea, since kids can accidentally hurt a puppy or a kitten – out of love! Always supervise your kids when playing with young animals, and always make them aware that an animal is in no way a TOY, but a living creature.
Many older dogs and cats that have been adopted turned out to be the most trusting, loving companions for years. Some might have gone through a trauma in their lives and need a little more patience, some experience anxiety to be left alone again (depending on their experience with the previous owner), but as soon as they start to trust you, their love for their owners makes up for the “cuteness” of puppies and kittens. And remember – kittens and puppies do grow, rather fast. Soon your puppy will turn into an adult dog.
It’s hard to determine what sort of characteristics a kitten or a puppy will have until the animal has grown up. In contrast, it is far easier for potential adopters to get an idea of the qualities of a mature animal such as temperament, size, and personality, and to come to a well-informed decision. Read also this post on how to decide on what puppy is good for you.
Helping a homeless animal is one of the most rewarding things a pet owner can do. If you adopt an adult/older animal you have the extra satisfaction knowing that you are giving a home to an animal that would probably have been put to sleep without your help. You saved a life!
More and more animal-lovers are finding out that their perfect pet isn’t a puppy or kitten but an adult animal. In the process, they’re learning just how easy it is to teach an older pet new tricks and learning the animal to trust and love again.
Again, look at shelters to adopt your animal. About 25% to 30% of a shelter’s population are dogs. Many pets at your local shelter are waiting for new homes because someone wanted an animal and was not aware of how much time and commitment is required to actually keep an animal. Some fell in love with a cute looking puppy and as it turned out to be the size of a St. Bernard, they gave up. Some had to give away their animals because of moving and the new landlord did not allow pets. I always say if a landlord does not allow pets I don’t want to be his tenant.
Responsible shelters screen the animals for good health and temperament. While caring for animals, staff and volunteers try to learn as much as they can about these animals to be able to give the new owner as much information as possible.
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find the breed or type of animal you want at a specific shelter. Shelters receive new animals every day, or more often. Some offer a waiting list and you can call when something you have in mind becomes available. Or, let the animal choose YOU as it’s owner. Many animal lovers had just walked into a shelter, looked at the dogs and cats in cages and found one that demanded the most attention.
That happened with my cat. She looked at me and never let me out of her eyesight. I walked by her 3 times, she just stared at me and started meowing, telling me: “About time you came, take me home”. Many people report similar experiences with their pets. Animals have great instincts and if a dog or a cat chooses you, feel rewarded and honored, follow it’s instinct.
Many shelters provide adoption counseling and follow-up assistance, such as calling you, checking on the pet, or offering dog-training classes, etc. They also have normally a list of trusted veterinarians if you happen to look for one.
Shelter adoption fees are usually a fraction of the price you normally pay for a purchased animal from a breeder or a pet store. In 99% of the cases, the animal will have a clean bill of health and all shots.
Local shelters can be found in the Yellow Pages of your phone book, or on the Internet, using a “local” search term. The humane society can also help you locate one of the many shelters. Several have their own websites and display quite a few of their animals that are ready for adoption. The websites Pets911, Petfinder, and 1-800-Save-A-Pet.com are working together with shelters and show animals ready for adoption.