Deciding to Adopt

Things to consider before adding a new family member

Falling in love with a new pet is easy. Pets can provide companionship, amusement, and varied health benefits. The bond between a pet and its owner can be an amazing thing. Remember that a pet needs more than love from his owner.

Taking responsibility for a pet for the rest of his life is a big commitment. Pets require time, money, and sometimes even an adaptation in lifestyle. Because of this, Helping Strays encourages you to carefully consider your decision.

To help in the decision process, there are some questions to consider – questions that will help you think through the process and help you to make the best choice – for your family and your potential new family member.

Why do I want a pet?

Pets are a commitment and that commitment can last several years. Pets should never be brought into the home on impulse. Think long term and as life changes, how your new pet will be part of those changes. Your pet will become part of your family and will need to be considered as such.

Do I have the time for a pet?

Pets will not only need food and water, but exercise, care, and companionship every day of the year. They are completely dependent on you to provide for them — mind, body, and soul. Pets are social animals and they do best with regular human companionship and interaction.

Is everyone in my family onboard with this decision?

Bringing a new pet into the home affects everyone. Make sure you have a discussion with all household members and ensure everyone is on board with not only having a new pet, but sharing the responsibilities of feeding, exercising, and caring for the pet. Also consider allergies of all household members as well as small children and elderly members. This should play into the decision as to which dog is right for your home.

Am I allowed to have pets where I live?

Before making the decision to get a pet, make sure it is permissible to have a pet where you live. If you rent, make sure having a pet is stipulated in the lease or you have landlord approval; if you own a condo, make sure the homeowner’s association does not have restrictions; if you live in a town or municipality with breed restrictions, ensure you know which breeds you can have and not have. Nothing is worse for a pet to come into a home only to be returned a short time later.

Am I prepared to be a responsible pet owner?

A pet not only needs food, your pet may also need toys, litter, licensing fees, training classes, regular veterinary care, grooming, and emergency medical care. All that can add up to a sizable chunk of your budget. Consider this when making the decision to bring a new animal into the home. These expenses will be present for the life of the pet.

Many pets are in shelters because their owners didn’t think about the questions mentioned above. Some owners realize too late that they are unable to provide a good home for their pet. Be honest with yourself and make the right choice. It may save both you and your pet from heartache and grief.