Adding a new dog or cat to the family is an exciting and wonderful time. So many decisions to make — breed, size, temperament, puppy/kitten or adult, indoor or outdoor, shedding vs non-shedding, allergy considerations, grooming maintenance requirements, home training or professional training, pet insurance, pet food or nutritionally balanced home cooked meals, and of course, to purchase from a reputable breeder or adopt. I understand that finding your perfect pet may lead you to purchasing but I would encourage you to consider adoption.
Many people do not realize that of the six to eight million pets that end up in shelters every year, 25 percent of them are purebreds. If you know you want a purebred then you most likely know there is often a significant cost when buying from a reputable breeder. For example, a champion show line standard poodle can be between $2,000 and $3,000. Adopting through a shelter or breed-specific rescue will save you a considerable amount of money. Plus, the adoption fee (typically less than $300) should cover vaccinations, spay/neuter, dewormings, microchip, and veterinary visits up to the date of adoption.
Many of these pets have been loved, trained, and housebroken and found their way to shelters and rescues through no fault of their own; two of the top reasons being landlord issues and moving. With so many great, family-ready pets available for adoption why would you not consider bringing one into your family?
If you decide adoption is right for you, the three main sources for adopting are the county shelters, county Humane Society, and private rescue groups (some of which are breed-specific). Most of these groups will use petfinder.com to list pets available in addition to their own websites. Searching online is a great way to be introduced to what pets are available and to learn a little more about each one. When you think you found a few that may be a good fit for your home, you can contact the group(s) to set up a meeting. Please note that not all the organizations have a facility where they house the pets, many use a network of fosters, so often times you will be meeting with the fosters or organization representative. Once you find your perfect pet, the adoption process is fairly simple, and depending on the source may offer same-day adoptions or require a more lengthy application and interview process.