Guest post by http://adoptapet.com edited by Elaine at VS.
Q: Although there are literally millions of pets in shelters, pounds and other ‘temporary housing’, many pet-owners-to-be (aka nonhuman animal guardians) don’t think about adoption when they’re looking for their new four-legged friend. Why do you think this is, and what can be done to turn that around?
A: Many people who want to get a pet just are not aware of how many pets are available at shelters. They might also have the misconception that pets are shelters might be there because there was a problem with the animal. In fact, most pets end up in shelters not because of any problem pet behavior, but because an owner died, moved, or simply didn’t have the time or money to care for the animal. In some cases animals are lost and never found by their legal guardians. These animals are healthy and very eager to please. Rescues are wonderful – just ask anyone who has one.
Some people are seeking purebred animals or puppies and think these are not available in shelters. In fact, nearly a quarter of all animals in shelters are purebred. Often someone buys an expensive purebred animal and then attempts to breed that animal to recoup their money. Often these puppies or kittens are not placed in homes, and end up in the shelter. Puppies and kittens often up in shelters as well, but it is important to note that your animals, especially puppies, require a lot of work and training and can be quite destructive (peeing on the carpet or chewing shoes). Puppies are great but often people are much happier getting a dog who is older, and whose size and temperament is a known quantity.
With Adopt-a-Pet.com and without even leaving their home, people can search all their local pets and see pictures and descriptions of the animals. This way, they can find the exact pet they want, call the animal shelter or rescue group, and get information on how to adopt that specific animal.
Q:What are the 5 most important things a potential adopter should consider when choosing their new pet?
A:We actually have a blog post on this highlighting the top 10 things we believe are important when adopting. Here are five, the rest can be located by visiting this page http://www.adoptapet.com/public/guides/permanentpets.html.
1. You need to make a real commitment to care for your pet for its entire life.
2. Verify in advance that you’re allowed to keep a pet where you live.
3. Never adopt on a whim or because you feel it’s love-at-first-sight
4. Provide sufficient exercise and stimulation during the first few weeks, this will help the animal adjust.
5. Make any necessary modifications to your yard and fence to provide for your pet’s safety.
Q:What are 5 positive aspects of pet adoption, and why it’s a good option?
1. When you adopt an adult animal, you can see his/her size and temperament. This helps ensure that the pet is right for you and your family.
2. It feels great to know you have saved an animals’ life and everyone you meet will give you kudos for that for years to come.
3. Adopted pets are very loyal and know they have been given a new home.
4. Adopting a pet can be an important lesson to teach your children– both about the value of life, and also about civic responsibility.
5. Choosing a mixed breed animal can help avoid many of the genetic health problems that have developed in purebred animal due overbreeding and inbreeding.
Q:If someone reading this isn’t in a position to adopt a pet right at this time, but still wants to help homeless pets, what are some things they can do to get involved?
1. People can do Social PETworking! They can run a search on Adopt-a-Pet.com, find a pet they want to help get exposure for, and use the share tools on our site to post the pet link on their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or other social network page. Or, they can email the link of a pet in need form our site to their friends.
2. They can place a link/grpahic or even a search widget for Adopt-a-Pet.com on their personal website to encourage they users to see pets in need at local shelters.
3. People can add their info to our volunteer database (link) so shelters who need volunteers can find them.
4. People can search Adopt-a-Pet.com to find a local shelter, and make a cash donation to that shelter to help them with the costs of housing, feeding and medical care of shelter animals.
5. People can encourage other pet owners to spay or neuter their pet to help prevent unwanted births.