It’s hard to think of five words that can inspire more anxiety in a parent than their kid asking, “Can we get a puppy?” (OK, adding a desperate, drawn-out “pleeease” at the end might actually worse). Sure, adding a playful puppy or fluffy furball (preferably one adopted from your local pound or animal shelter) to the family mix can bring all sorts of benefits, but it’s also a big responsibility that not every household is ready for. With National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day upon us, here are four things you’ll want to think about before bringing home a four-legged friend.
1. Are You Ready? Like, Really, Really Ready?
Caring for a pet goes far beyond providing food, water, and shelter. It takes research and careful planning to bring the right pet into your home. Why do you want to adopt a pet? Will you truly be able to spend quality time with it? Is your child ready for such a big commitment? Asking yourself these and other tough questions and being brutally honest about your family’s ability to take on a new member is essential.
2. Pick the Right Pet
Deciding which type of animal (including the breed and the age of the animal you’re adopting) is right for you and your family is key. Is your husband allergic to pet hair? Does a barking dog turn your trembling toddler into a puddle of tears? Do you live in an apartment or have limited outdoor space? There’s bound to be a breed of cat or dog that’s suitable for your lifestyle—and thanks to the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match program, finding it just got a whole lot easier.
3. Where to Adopt From
We always recommend adopting a shelter animal over going to a breeder, but where the heck is there a shelter around here anyway? We’re happy you asked. A few of our local favorites include Bergen County Shelter (in Teterboro), Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge (in Oakland), Bergen County Protection and Rescue Foundation (in Cliffside Park), Closter Animal Welfare Society (CLAWS), and Halfway Hounds. Check out the websites of these fantastic organizations for more info, protocols, and printable adoption paperwork before paying them a visit. Better yet, help them out with a donation!
4. Clean House
Adopting a pet from a shelter can transform your house into a cozy home. But without careful preparation, your new furry friend can turn the old homestead into a mess. Check out these helpful household and training tips from the ASPCA, which will help get you on your way to having it all—furry love and a tidy home.