There are so many animals out there in need of homes, and so many who are destroyed as a result. So it goes without saying that unless you need a particular breed of animal pet for a specific reason, adoption is the best option. Regardless of the means by which a pet joins a family, the most important factor is that the family knows what they are getting into. A pet is a member of a family, not an armchair that can be replaced if the leg is busted or the upholstery is worn. Pets are in it for the long haul. If they are sick, they must be cared for–not discarded. If a family moves, it needs to seek out a pet-friendly option in a new home, not dump the animal at a shelter. And if your pet urinates around the house, it's time for behavior training, not the streets. We all have our issues, right?
Before getting a pet, think about the following:
1. What will this pet add to the family?
2. What care is involved with this pet?
3. Will this pet be good around children (if applicable)? And will the children be able to help care for the pet?
4. How long is the pet expected to live, and are there any health concerns surrounding this type of pet?
5. How much time is our family willing to put into training?
6. What are the potential issues with the specific pet we are considering adding to our family?
7. Who will care for the pet?
8. Can we afford to care for this pet?
9. Does our family's activity level and presence in the home fit with the needs of the pet?
10. Is our family ready to make a commitment to care for the pet for the duration of it's life?
It's wonderful that there are no-kill options for families who are in over their heads, but if research is done before a pet enters the family, there is a better chance that that pet will be a perfect, livelong fit, as it should be. Bringing a pet into the family is a commitment for the life of the pet, period. Pets are for keeps.
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