Joys of Choosing a Shelter Pet

Looking for the perfect new addition to your family? There are a host of good reasons to try your local animal shelter or rescue group for your new pet:

  • Health. Shelter pets are vet-screened and receive good preventative care, spaying or neutering, and vaccinations. As a group, they are far healthier than the animals flowing from “puppy mills” into local pet shops.
  • Temperament. Most shelters screen for temperament and work to match the pet with the right type of family. Why end up with a cat who hides under the bed when your youngsters try to pet her?
  • You by-pass puppyhood. Puppies and kittens are cute, but the paper-training, teething and obedience skills phase is exhausting. Besides, that cute 8-week-old ball of fur might grow into a 90-pound eating machine!
  • Education and support. Many shelter and rescue groups provide literature, education programs and support to help new pet owners make the adjustment.
  • Pure-breds. Shelters are filled with the most popular breeds in your community. Or contact the breed-specific rescue group in your area.
  • Economics. Shelter pets are a real bargain: you pay only a nominal fee to adopt and most of those first year medical expenses – like spaying or neutering and vaccinations – are already taken care of.

Finally, there’s the personal satisfaction of “rescuing” an animal in need. I’ve cared for lots of pets and pet owners during my 25 years in practice, and I honestly believe that the bond between shelter pets and their owners is richer.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find your desired pet on your first visit. Leave your name, number and information on your “perfect pet”, or fill out a pre-screening application. Most groups are happy to work with you to make a perfect match. So before you pick that puppy in the window, why not consider a visit to the local shelter? I think you will find it well worth the trip.

To locate pets available for adoption in your area, contact your local humane society. Or visit one of the following rescue and adoption websites:

www.petfinder.comwww.aspca.org