It can happen to the best of us. You see a cute, tiger-striped kitten with white paws and green eyes, just begging for attention. Or maybe it's a gorgeous Labrador mix whose tails seems to be wagging just for you. You take one look, and the next thing you know, you're walking down the pet food aisle at the supermarket.
If you're like most of us, falling in love with a pet is easy. And no wonder! Sharing your home with a four-legged friend can be one of life's greatest joys. Dogs, cats, and other pets give us unconditional loyalty and acceptance, provide constant companionship, and even help relieve stress after a hard day's work.
Adopting a pet, though, is a big decision. Dogs and cats require lots of time, money, and commitment—over 15 years' worth in many cases. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through your decision before you adopt a companion.
Things to Consider
The fact that you're thinking about adopting from an animal shelter means you're a responsible and caring person. But before you make that decision to bring a furry friend into your life, take a moment to think over these questions:
Get an Animal for Life
Sure, it's a long list of questions. But a quick stroll through an animal shelter will help you understand why answering them before you adopt is so important.
Many of the shelter's homeless animals are puppies and kittens, victims of irresponsible people who allowed their pets to breed. But there are at least as many dogs and cats at the shelter who are more than a year old—animals who were obtained by people who didn't think through the responsibilities of pet ownership before they got the animal.
Please, don't make the same mistake. Think before you adopt. Sharing your life with a companion animal can bring incredible rewards, but only if you're willing to make the necessary commitments of time, money, responsibility, and love—for the life of the pet.
Copyright © 2002 The Humane Society of the United States. All rights reserved.