A pet can be a wonderful addition to a home. A pet can be a faithful companion to a single person, or become another beloved member of a busy family, helping to teach children lessons on love and responsibility.
But pet ownership shouldn’t be taken lightly. Pet ownership is a big responsibility. Animals need love and care, and an owner with the desire, time and ability to care for a pet properly. Adoption should never be on a whim, and giving pets as gifts is not a good idea.
“Adopting a pet is an important decision that should include every member of your family and household,” said Jeana Roth, community relations manager at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (ARLGP). Discussion should include what type of pet is the best fit for your family and home environment. This goes beyond just the kind of animal to adopt. Important considerations include breed, age, and size of the animal as well.
It’s important for people adopting a pet to know that they require both ample time and resources. “Understanding what your pet needs is an important component of adoption,” said Roth. This includes how much food, toys and equipment, exercise, and training they will require, as well as considering what kind of veterinary expenses might come up.
Once the decision has been made to adopt a pet, there are several places to look. Roth said there are dozens of shelters in the state, as well as many rescue organizations. Some of these organizations specialize in a particular breed, or a certain type of pet.
“If you are looking for a new companion, the best thing to do is to stop in and meet some animals,” said Roth. “Talk with our staff to learn more about who would be a good fit for your household!”
Every organization has its own adoption process, but all include an application and interview to be sure the pet is the right fit for the household. At the ARLGP, anyone wanting to adopt will go through an adoption counseling process with a staff member. This allows staff to find out what the individual or family is looking for in a companion. They use that information to introduce animals that might be a good fit for the family. Roth said the ARLGP uses the Meet Your Match program, designed by the ASPCA. This program helps staff pair pets with people based on both the animal’s personality and behaviors, and the person’s home. “Our goal is to send each animal to a new, happy home, that can fulfill its needs,” Roth said.
Population control and proper vaccinations are important things to think about in the process as well. All pets adopted from the ARLGP are spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations when they head to their new homes.
Finding the perfect pet doesn’t have to be an intimidating process, but it does require planning and preparation. Taking this time before a pet comes home can reduce the chances of making the wrong choice and having to return or surrender the pet to a shelter.