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5 Tips for Adopting Shelter Animals

5 Tips for Adopting Shelter Animals

Fido, Snowball or Goldie–no matter the critter, study after study shows that pets are good for our health. Their unconditional love and wonderful kindness reduce our stress levels and increase our serotonin intake. Sadly, fewer than half of family pets live out their lives with their original families. That’s an estimated seven million animals entering our shelter system every year, many simply through the irresponsibility of careless owners. If you’re thinking of adopting an animal for yourself or your family, here are some tips:

Avoid impulses “There are so many great (shelter) dogs and cats in need of a home,” says Babara Savidge, owner of Olive: Green Goods for Modern Dogs. “That said, don’t be completely swayed by a cute face. Take some time to think about what’s important to you in a pet. Make a list of what you want, what you don’t want, and what you can compromise on–before you even look. A little pre-thought will go a long way to ensuring a good fit for both parties.”

• Meet Your Match. More than 250 shelters across the U.S. use a “Meet your Match” program. The potential owners are required to fill out lengthy questionnaires stating desires and behaviors. In this way, the more knowledgeable handlers at the shelters can point the owners in the direction of a breed or animal that would suit their lifestyle well. Occasionally, owners are introduced to breeds that they never would have considered, helping “less-popular” pets find loving homes.

• Rely on the shelter workers for advice and knowledge. Many pet stores view each pet as a potential sale, while the shelter workers, often volunteers, are invested in every animal they help and want to find the placement that will work best for all parties.

• Do your research. Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t adopt. “Several large breed dogs, older dogs and cats are well-suited to apartment life,” says Shannon Boyer of the Arizona Animal Welfare League. “These animals are pretty sedentary and are very happy and healthy with just a couple short walks each day.”

• Introduce your current pets.
Many shelters will allow you to bring your current pets into the environment to ensure that everyone feels comfortable with the new addition. If your adoptee is shy, many shelters have programs that will help with training and socializing.

Remember, you are now responsible for a life so this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Consider the pros and cons. Are you ready for both the work and rewards that come with owning a pet?

Have you seen the new Adoptable Pets page on Care2? Check it out here! Please also share with your friends – we’d love your help in finding great homes for these adorable animals!

6 Health Benefits of Having Pets
Benefits of Adopting a Less-Adoptable Pet

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Veronica Peterson

Veronica Peterson has a background in green design and creative writing. She loves discovering and sharing sustainable ways to enrich life. Veronica is a happy urbanite, who lives above a produce market in San Francisco with her dog Winnie.


+ add your own
10:33AM PDT on Apr 14, 2015

And before you adopt, always remember that a dog or cat is forever, and should be considered as family.

9:22PM PST on Feb 25, 2015

thank you.

6:17PM PDT on Aug 3, 2014

Thank you :)

4:30PM PDT on May 26, 2014

This is great advice.

8:40PM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

Thank you!

12:27PM PST on Dec 22, 2013

Thank you.

7:50PM PST on Dec 4, 2013


11:31PM PDT on Oct 7, 2013

Animals give us so much more than we give them - my rescues were 'bottom of the barrel' - but have given me so much love in return for the love and care and patience I have given them whilst trying to sort out their problems - and they are SOOOO much happier as a result! I have never seen such a change - animals that arrived here so terrified by others' treatment I worried for them desperately have, when shown calm love and patience and understanding, eventually turned into the happiest, most loving and confident animals. Yes, it is hard work - but it is SOOO worth it! They are an utter joy!

9:23PM PDT on May 22, 2013

Good advise thanks

10:23AM PDT on May 5, 2013

Adopting from no-kill animal shelters is great too.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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