How to Adopt a Pet: Family Tips
Thinking about adding a furry family member?
If you have children and other pets, you might want to consider adopting from a local rescue group who has pets in foster homes. Then, it will be easier to find a pet that is accustomed to a home with children and/or other dogs and/or other cats, and hopefully less likely that you’ll get the pet home with you only to find out a couple of weeks later that the pet isn’t a good fit for your household.
The Advantages of a Rescue Pet
There are other advantages to adopting from a rescue, such as finding a dog that’s already house trained, crate trained, and leash trained or finding a cat that’s litter box trained and likes being held. And fully vetted, vaccinated, spayed/neutered, heartworm negative and microchipped are included in most adoption fees. The foster parent will be able to tell you all about the pet’s energy level, personality, and needs.
We are lucky here in North Alabama to have so many rescue groups. Some specialize in certain breeds. Some specialize in only very small dogs. Some even have animals for adoption other than cats and dogs. Most have foster homes that care for the pet until the ideal forever home is found, and the foster parent can tell you all about the animal so that there aren’t any big surprises later. Looking for a young puppy or kitten? Looking for a purebred? You can absolutely find them through a rescue group and save a life at the same time!
Take the Pet for a Test-Drive
A close friend recently told me that her family had started looking for dog. She said now that was finished having babies, she wanted her children to grow up with a dog, but she confided that she was a little afraid of getting a dog home and finding out it couldn’t be trusted around the children, and the last thing she would want to have to do is return the dog. (She was willing to train the dog! But safety was her first concern.) For this family, adopting a dog from a foster home with small children is ideal! She also really wanted a low-shedding dog and one that was already potty trained. We had a long conversation, and she was relieved and excited when we finished. Plus, most rescues offer a trial period so that if the pet isn’t a good fit, you return it to a loving foster home.
Where to Start the Adoption Process
If you have a certain breed, age, gender or size in mind, you can start by going to www.petfinder.com and entering in your zip code to find adoptable pets in your area. The website is pretty easy to navigate and search, and there are links to the rescue group if you find a pet that catches your eye.
Go to the rescue’s website and you should be able to tell if they use foster homes for their animals. If not, you can always contact them and ask. A few local rescues set up at pet stores in the area every Saturday at lunch time — your family can start popping by to see what animals they have available and also to talk to the rescue about what you’re looking for. They may take your contact information and call you if they get what you’re looking for. Find out what their adoption fee is and what it covers. In the long run, the adoption fee is usually cheaper than the cost of all the vetting the animals receives.
My Fostering Story
My family starting fostering three years ago. The rescue has provided us with professional dog training, dog food, a crate and other supplies, and I have learned soooo much. It’s been really good for our own pets because it has helped socialize them more and my overweight dog has slimmed down. And it’s been great for our son to learn about helping those in need. I involve him in as much as possible and it is fostering his love for animals and teaching him responsibility and charity. We foster one dog at a time, and we are able to select the type of dog. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to let them go but when that perfect forever home comes along, the happiness and rewarding feelings overshadow the sadness. And we quickly get a new foster dog to love on.
Heather Phillips and her husband are high school sweethearts originally from Kentucky. Heather worked in the fields of public relations and marketing for over 13 years before becoming a stay at home mom to their two boys. Heather has enjoyed volunteer work her whole life and is active in the animal rescue community here in Madison County.