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* * * Before Adopting - Questions to ask yourself

If you're interested in adopting an animal, there are some serious questions that you need to ask yourself - and answer honestly. If you can't answer ALL of these questions, perhaps this isn't the right time to adopt. Sometimes the timing just isn't right. Animals are a big commitment. They are expensive, time consuming and sometimes destructive until they are properly socialized. This relationship can also be incredibly rewarding and will enrich your life in a way that nothing else can. One of the keys to ensure a happy relationship is to make sure you have considered the situation thoroughly, and have thought about all the possibilities.Happy people go a long way to having happy animals, (and conversely, unhappy people tend to have unhappy and neglected animals!) so thinking it through will always pay off in the end.

Many of these questions are going come up again in your adoption application if you choose to go through a rescue shelter, and you will be expected to answer them honestly. Be prepared to complete a fairly detailed and personal adoption application process at the rescue shelter. It is the responsibility of the shelter to ensure that the animals they have rescued are going to good homes where they will be well treated. It's YOUR responsibility to be sure that you can handle the animal, and all that entails.

Remember that no matter how badly you want one, you are only being selfish and unfair to the animal if you see your situation changing to one in which you will be able to keep him or her. And you also should realize that if you are not completely honest, and you are forced to give the animal up, you will be losing an animal you have bonded with and have grown to care about.

Cost

  • Can you afford the food? It costs approximately $300(Cn) to feed a large dog for a year (with the ever-rising cost of living, this rate will go up).
  • What about medical care? Cats and dogs both require a rabies vaccine and may likely require annual distemper shots. They will need to be checked for parasites regularly. Dogs will need to be vaccinated against parvo. Cats will need to be tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV. If an unexpected medical emergency should come up, can you afford to take care it? If not, what would you do to get the money to pay for the medical bills?
  • Would you be willing to pay for obedience training for your dog if he or she needed it?
  • If your apartment or condo requires an additional "pet" deposit, can you afford it? These deposits range in cost, but are usually over $200.

Time Investment

  • Do you have the time to provide him or her with adequate exercise every day?
  • If you do not have a fenced yard, do you have the willingness and commitment to go for daily walks?
  • Cats should have their litter boxes cleaned at least every two days.
  • What about schooling? If you bring home a puppy, someone needs to be home to monitor house training. A puppy can be especially time consuming, and puppies can be quite destructive.
  • Will you be able to spend quality time with your dog?

Shelter

  • Does your housing situation *allow* animals? Are you *positive*? Do they have a size limit on the number they allow? Your best bet is to call your landlord before making any final decisions on the animal you want to adopt.
  • Do you understand that cats should ONLY be kept indoors? No "ifs", "ands", or "buts".
  • If your dog is to be kept outside for any extended period of time, will you provide it with adequate shelter during bad weather?

Life-Long Responsibility

  • Are you planning to keep the animal for his or her entire lifetime?
  • Will you have the animal altered? An enormous over population of dogs and cats exists in the Canada. There are roughly three times as many dogs and cats born as people, with over 10,000 every hour. This is the reason animal shelters and humane societies have to put to death thousands of animals every year. By spaying or neutering, you can help solve this problem. A neutered animal is also happier and is less likely to develop cancer in their reproductive organs.
  • What will you do if someone in your house develops an allergy?

If there are any questions or points above that you do not feel 100% comfortable with, you may want to wait until your situation has changed so that you are comfortable with all of the issues above, or re-evaluate your choice. For example, if you feel like you might not have the time to devote to training a new puppy, but you feel comfortable with all of the other questions above, you could consider adopting an adult dog, or a cat. Check out PetSmart's page on figuring out what kind of animal will be a good match for you. .

Reprinted with permission from Pet-Abuse.Com (edited for diction only by AAAC)

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