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  • Kelly Daniel

What to Consider Before Adopting

It is estimated that around six million cats and dogs enter animal shelters across the United States each year; of which, over half are dogs. That averages out to six dogs per minute that are taken in by a shelter. Some of those are “returns”; dogs that have already spent part of their life waiting in a shelter to find a forever home, are adopted, and then eventually returned back to the shelter. Unfortunately, not every adoptive home turns out to be a forever home. Every situation is different, but most reasons provided for returning a previously adopted animal share a common thread - lack of research.


While Lee County Humane Society has an adoption approval process, only the adopter can truly know whether they are prepared and ready. Doing research beforehand will increase your chances of providing a forever home to that shelter animal in need. Here are five things to consider before adopting a pet.


1. Lifestyle matters. Think about the type of person you are along with your current and potential future. Your lifestyle and commitments are variables that dramatically influence the compatibility between you and an animal. Once you come to the conclusion of the type of the high or low energy lifestyle you lead, you will know what energy level to look for in a companion animal. Fostering an animal is a great way to figure out what you are looking for in a pet, especially if you would be a first-time pet owner!


2. Will you be relocating to a new home in the near future? Lee County Animal Shelter requires landlord approval before they will approve a potential adopter, what happens after the animal is adopted? If you plan to relocate, make sure your pet will be welcome to come with you. Many apartments and rental websites clearly mark whether they have any restrictions when it comes to pets or fees that are associated with it.


3. Are you willing to make a life-long commitment to the animal? New pets require patience, time, and your dedication to get adjusted to their new normal. Being a responsible pet owner means taking the steps to train, socialize, feed, care, and love them. Keep in mind, they don’t always adjust to new environments as quickly as we think they will. This transition can take up to three months. Don't forget, they will need training to learn what behaviors are allowed in your home.


4. What was allowed in their previous home may not be allowed in yours and vice versa.

Animals require check-ups and preventative medicine just like people. Flea and tick preventatives, heartworm preventatives, and regular check-ups should be a must. Are you willing to provide the necessary vetting to keep your pet healthy?


5. Pets are individuals. They each have their own unique way of communicating and different personalities. Reading up on animal behavior and what the body language is telling you, as well as spending time with an animal prior to adopting it will give you insight into how that animal would interact with everyone in your home. The shelter staff spend a lot of time with each animal and will be more than happy to share what they know to help match you up with the animal that would fit into your life the best. It may not be the specific breed or look you were seeking in an animal, but personality and energy levels will be the factors that really make or break an owner’s bond with their pet.


As the holiday season approaches, Lee County Humane Society sees a huge increase of owner surrenders and “returns”. Some owners believe that they are doing the best thing for a pet because the shelter has animals flying out the door every day - especially when it comes to puppies and kittens. Sadly, that just isn’t the case. The animal shelter serves as a resource to the community, but it should be your last resource when it comes to rehoming a pet. LCHS is more than happy to work with you in finding the perfect animal match for your home, or on the flip-side discuss alternatives to re-homing an animal than through the animal shelter. Giving the adoption the consideration it deserves will increase the chances that you find your perfect match on the first try, and the ability to provide it with a forever home.

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Auburn, AL | lchs1140@leecountyhumane.org | 334-821-3222

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