Choosing a pet from a shelter should be a thoughtful process for each of us, so that bringing in a new furry member of the family is as normal as possible, for both you and the animal.
Nowadays we have thousands of animal types to choose from. For example, in the case of dogs, there are not just homologated races, but also a wide variety of mixed breeds or common race (the most frequently abandoned and present in shelters). Obviously, the decision to choose a pet becomes more and more complex and we can no longer rely on superficial aspects.
As responsible prospective pet parents, we have to carefully determine if an animal is too young or too old for what we can offer him, if our home is too big or too small, as well as if it is safe or not for a certain pet. Our lifestyle also matters, because there are pets that can be left alone for several hours without negative consequences, while others may develop separation anxiety and behavioral problems in the absence of our constant company.
Another aspect that must be considered is the way a pet may affect the children in the family and vice-versa, the impact of a new child on the pet (unfortunately, there are cases when people abandon the pet because they can`t afford to care for it anymore, which is morally wrong, no matter about which kind of live beings we are talking about).
Things to consider when you adopt a pet from a shelter
? Choose a local shelter and visit it often
That`s because you should get used to the animals and the adoption center environment. Relying your choice on the first impression is not very wise, because you may change your mind about an animal once you get to know it. Some look distant or anxious when, in fact, they are just lonely or afraid... Or, who knows, even if you were looking for a female cat or dog (because that is what you have had before), you may end up with a male that melted your heart and made you realize that he too will fit just fine into your home. Stay open to possibilities and avoid obsessing over a certain breed, gender or color, as these are only superficial criteria.
? Keep the balance between what you want and what you can afford
You may want a big dog, but if you live in a tiny place this option will surely not be the best for you. Also, some animals, regardless their size, require specific care and living conditions, so you must carefully determine the compatibility with your lifestyle and possibilities, before adopting them.
? Give up those preconceived opinions about shelter animals!
People are tempted to believe that shelter animals are damaged, one way or another, because of abuse and neglect, but actually, this doesn?t make them less good or loving. Not to mention that shelters are committed to treat and toilet-train these animals before giving them to adoption, as well as to provide valuable advice and counseling to prospective owners.
Pet Fostering Tips
It is very fulfilling to know that you have helped an animal that was going through a tough time in their life. That is why many people consider fostering a pet. However, fostering comes with much more responsibility than you might first imagine, so you should do your homework before deciding to become a foster parent for a pet. Here are some facts that come with fostering:
1. Time Commitment. You may be asked to foster a pet for two to four weeks. You don?t have to be at home the whole time, but you may have to give up that family vacation or weekend getaway.
2. There are different types of pet fostering. Foster parents might be needed for kittens or dogs suffering from behavioral issues. Feel free to choose whatever you feel comfortable with and you know you can actually handle.
3. Basic Training. Fostering a pet involves more than just feeding and grooming. Your pet might have some issues with jumping on strangers or chewing and may need housetraining, too.
4. Bringing back to health. If you are taking an animal that is recovering from an illness or a disease, you might have to give them medication or bathe them using extra caution. This takes patience and responsibility.
5. The financial commitment. It is possible that shelters will pay for vet visits and other necessities. However, it is better if you ask beforehand what your financial responsibilities will be.
6. Separating your own pets from the foster pet. You will need a separate room for your foster pet to isolate it from your own companion animals.
7. Clean-ups and damages. You should take into consideration that foster pets have sometimes ruined valuable items, such as carpets and clothing. It is best to prepare your home ahead of time, so that you can avoid at least some of the accidents that may occur.
8. Monitoring their health. Ask yourself if you will be able to pay attention to signs of illness, so that you can call the shelter or rescue group. Don?t forget to ask beforehand what to look out for.
9. Are you emotionally ready? Be prepared for tears once you need to give the pet back.
10. Qualifications. In order for your fostering time to pass by successfully, you need to be compassionate, flexible and to possess knowledge of animal behavior. You will most likely be trained and asked to fill out a foster application.
11. Policies and Procedures. Each organization has its own policies, but most likely, a foster-care coordinator will help you find the type of pet you should foster, and then contact you when that pet is in need of help. Also, most organizations ask for your own pets to be up-to-date on all vaccinations before you can foster.
12. Returning the pet. Sometimes it is difficult to know surely when the pet will be ready for adoption; therefore, call the foster home coordinator to make the appointment for returning the pet.
Fostering is great and fulfilling, regardless of all of these facts. Doing good always comes back around.