Tips for adopting your dog

Every day perfectly wonderful pets are euthanized in the United States due to lack of resources and space. I live near Indianapolis and the city shelter is desperately posting pleas on a regular basis asking people to adopt as their kennels are full and full kennels mean some animals have to be euthanized so space can be made for incoming animals.

If you can adopt a pet from a local animal shelter or rescue; you are not only saving that pet; you are opening a kennel spot so another pet can be saved. You are always saving two animals when you adopt. Some people think shelters are full of pets who have issues since they are no longer wanted by their owners; but that is rarely the case. Many pets end up in shelters through absolutely no fault of their own. My search dog Skywalker came from an animal shelter. I have fostered more than 100 animals and of the 30 or so pets I’ve had in my life; only two did not come from a shelter (well some of them were dumped at my home, but the rest came from shelters).

It is far better to get your pet from a shelter or rescue than a “free” pet. Free pets are never free. They require medical attention, they need spayed or neutered, etc. I found a cat last year and I offered him “free” to a home, but I first had the cat neutered, tested for FIV and FIP and given his first set of shots and microchipped. It cost me $350. That cat could have been adopted anywhere in my local area between $30 and $100 and had all of those things already done. Shelters and rescues provide lots of medical care and vaccines and none of it is covered by the adoption fee. So adopting actually saves you a lot of money.

If you are looking for a certain breed, chances are good that breed has a breed specific rescue. Approximately 20 percent of animals in shelters are purebred. I took in a dog once at the shelter I worked at that had its paperwork from the breeder and that dog originally cost $6,000. The people were moving and didn’t want to take the dog with them. You can even get things like turtles, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, pot belly pigs and even chickens and horses in some cases from rescues and shelters.

Many animal shelters also know a lot about the pets they are adopting out and if you adopt from a foster-based rescue; then you will know even more about the pet as that pet will have been living in a home.

If you are a first-time pet owner; find out if you can foster for a local shelter or rescue. It is a great way to see how a pet will fit into your life without committing to forever.

So, before you decide to buy a pet; ask yourself if you shouldn’t look at a shelter or rescue first.