Before deciding to have a pet, there are many factors to consider. But the most important question is: Are you ready?
There are some obligations you have to fulfill, you need to understand how adoption works, and how much it costs. We’ll also go through the differences of adopting a pet versus buying, the responsibilities this implies and how your future faithful 4-legged companion will enrich your life.
If you’re thinking of expanding your family with a pet, this is for you!
Adopting a pet: It’s not a toy!
There are many reasons for adopting a pet – because we lack company and we feel alone; because we love animals; because we want to welcome an animal that needs a house; because our partner or children want one; because we want our children to learn the values that life can induce with a pet… Or a little for all these things at once!
All the reasons are good, but it is clear that an animal is not a toy; it is a responsibility. Yes, you can adopt a pet because your children want to, but it’s a compromise first and foremost. You must be sure to take care of it, to assist it and to give it affection; and anticipate the effect and changes this animal can make to your home. If you want to adopt a dog or cat, you should always be aware that the animal will not always be the puppy or kitten ready to play and that it will age, maybe even that it will get sick and that it will need care and attention.
Are you ready?
Once you’re sure about the adoption, analyze your daily life.
Will you have time to take care of your pet?
You’re going to have to put water and food every day. You will have to take it to the vet periodically and take care of it when it’s sick. You’re going to have to incorporate it into some activities, walk it around and give it affection. As with a family member or friend, your pet will need time. Of course, you will have to take care of it, vaccinate it, and register it in the pet registry.
It’s not just a matter of time!
Will your pet be compatible with your lifestyle?
Some dogs are more active than others: a sedentary person should, therefore, opt for a quieter animal. Also, think about your travel habits. Holidays are the time of year when most animals are abandoned, as cruel and inconceivable as it may seem.
If you go on holiday, you will have to choose either to take your pet with you or to find someone to take care of it while you are away; and if none of these options are possible, you should consider using a paid solution such as a pet shelter-type company.
Are animals allowed in the places where you are used to living or going?
Make sure that’s the case. If, for example, nothing is specified in your lease, then talk to your landlord to include it and not have any nasty surprises afterward. It is possible that if you adopt a dog or cat, you need to make some adjustments in your home, such as getting rid of any plants that can be toxic to the animal or putting dangerous objects out of reach.
Like when a baby comes home!
In this regard, you should also keep in mind that your pet could, for example, damage your sofa or tapestry, like a small child who can draw on the walls. No matter how you educate it (and yes, you have to set rules and try to teach your dog or cat to respect them), sometimes he will do stupid things or clumsiness!
Finally, do you have other animals at home?
If so, you should think about the cohabitation between the “old” and the “new.” Some animals are not compatible with each other; for example, cats and ferrets don’t “mix well” for long.
And, depending on the character of your current pet, it may cost it a lot to accept a “little brother.” In any case, you will need to make sure that you have a welcoming process in place (you can seek advice from your veterinarian or a protection agency) and ensure that the newcomer does not have a disease that can be transmitted to your existing pet.
Adopting a dog or cat: The obligations and process
To adopt a dog, cat or other pet, you must be of age, have a proof of residence, an identification document, and an adoption contract. In the adoption contract, you agree to take care of your pet, even take it to the vet in case of a medical emergency, administer the necessary vaccines and get rid of parasites. Unfortunately, your pet may need special assistance if an accident happens. For that, you’ll then need to find a vet near you. In these scenarios, time is of the essence, so if you are looking for ER veterinarians near you, there are websites that could help you with that. Your pet is your family member so it must be supported and cared for unconditionally.
In all shelters or protection associations, you will have to pay some cash as a donation to cover the costs incurred for your future pet. These costs depend on the animal. For example, if you adopt an adult cat, the cost will be higher than for a kitten because it will surely be vaccinated and sterilized. If you adopt a one-month-old kitten, the cost will be lower because it has not yet been vaccinated or sterilized.
During the months following the adoption of your dog or cat, the shelter or protection association will follow up on the animal to ensure that you are keeping your commitments as a new owner. If something happens to your pet, it is a good thing to inform the association.
Of course, each animal is different and has its own personality. For example, cats tend to be more independent and like to spend time alone. But don’t pay attention to the reputation that makes the cat a sociable animal! Cats have their character, but they are also very affectionate and very playful. Dogs are more obedient and generally more affectionate, but they also require more care. You’ll have to take your dog out or walk him two or three times a day, and that doesn’t mean going out to do his needs and go home right away! A dog likes to be outside and, for him, walking is more than just going to the little corner.
If you adopt a pet you must take care of it throughout its life, without ever abandoning it or being negligent. This is part of your commitment. Finally, always remember that a pet is a loving member of your family that will never abandon you!