Adopting Change in Pet Adoption

Posted: Oct 28, 2023

 Are you considering adding a furry member to your family? They can bring joy, excitement, and fun to any household and really do become a member of your family. You may be considering a new pet for your child this holiday season and wondering how to go about adopting your pet and the best ways to integrate that pet into your home.  

Even if you have adopted a pet in the past, there are so many options and tons of information out there that can make finding your perfect new pet seem overwhelming. If you have previously adopted a pet from a breeder or pet store, you may have unknowingly adopted a pet that originated from a puppy mill, which although legal, can be a breeding ground for illness, disease and overall unethical conditions for animals. While it may seem like the easy route to find the exact pet you are looking for, there so many shelters and rescues filled with perfect pets looking for their forever homes.  

Before you adopt a pet, here are a few questions you should ask yourself.  

1. Where should I adopt my pet from?  

If you didn’t already get the memo, adopting from a pet store or breeder is not the best option unless you can get exact information on where the pet came from. If you suspect the pet came from a puppy mill or similar condition, do not adopt from that source. There are so many better options like a shelter or rescue where there are many adoptable pets waiting for their forever home. When you find the pet you are most interested in, try to spend time with them and even ask if you can do a flash foster and bring the pet home for a night or weekend before you fully commit to the adoption.  

2. Do I have the time to commit to taking care of a pet? 

The addition of a pet to a family can provide many great things— a loving companion for a child, or a snuggly friend for movies or a scary night. While these are great, pets are also a huge commitment. They require a great deal of time dedicated to taking care of them, including time to take them to vet appointments, taking them on a walk/run, playtime, and even time to just give them love and affection.  

If you travel, pets must also be taken care of if you are going on a trip. This could be through a friend watching them or boarding the pet. Pets are not meant to spend their entire day in a kennel and if you don’t have the time to ensure they are properly taken care of, it may not be the best time to get a pet. 

3. Are my finances stable enough to care for a pet? 

Not only are pets a big commitment when it comes to time, but they also require quite a bit of money to care for. Of course, buying food for them is the first expense that probably comes to mind. However, pets could also need toys, treats, beds, and more. In addition to these, pets need to go to the vet frequently to ensure they are in good health. The vet could recommend medications or vaccines your pet would need which is an additional expense. If you want to travel, you will likely also need to pay for someone to care for your pet while you’re gone.  

4. Is this the right time to get a pet? Is everyone in my house ready or on board for this? 

When it comes to getting a pet, timing is everything. Different types of pets might require more care than others. If you have a big family vacation planned soon it might not be the best time to get a pet. Some pets will require you to stay at home more than usual for the first few weeks to help them adapt to their new environment. You should also make sure everyone is ready to get a pet. If it’s a split decision on wanting a pet, it might be best to wait until everyone is on board. 

4. What will I do if I can’t care for my pet anymore?  

You may come to a time when you are moving, you have a baby or another major life change where you decide that you can no longer care for the pet in your home. Rehoming your pet should always be the very last option—first, try to find a solution to keep your pet.  

Ultimately, you should not adopt a pet if you believe there is a possibility you will have to rehome it someday. There are temporary solutions like boarding your pet or asking a friend to care for your pet for a while until you can welcome them back into your home. If you have tried every possible solution and come to the decision to rehome your pet, you should first look to your own, trusted community to see if anyone is looking to adopt. If there is no one you know, you can contact rescues to see if they can help you find a new home for your pet. Shelters are usually already full of abandoned or lost pets so they should never be your rehoming option.  

We encourage you to build healthy habits around pet adoption and ownership, including where and how you adopt and how to set yourself up for success in pet ownership. This may involve changing your behavior around pet adoption. For a deeper dive into what all goes into changing your behavior and habits, read Behavior Change Gamechangers.  

Stay tuned for more during 30 Days of Change.

Authors: Jamie Kisling and Jenna Curtis

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