Why should I adopt a pet?

When you adopt a pet from an animal shelter or rescue, you give the gift of a loving home and receive the greatest gift of all—unconditional love and companionship!

What’s the difference between animal shelters and animal rescues?

Animal shelters are usually operated by municipalities and take in all lost, homeless, sick, injured and dangerous animals as well as owner surrendered pets. Today, animal shelters are working hard to reduce the number of healthy animals euthanized by finding good homes for all adoptable pets they receive. Many shelters have achieved No-Kill status, defined as shelters with a live release rate of 90% or higher.

Animal rescues are usually privately run nonprofits that are selective in the number and type of pets they accept. Some are run by a single person while others include volunteers. Many take pets from animal shelters as well as owner surrenders and strays.

Humane societies and societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) are private, independent nonprofits with their own rules and regulations.

What kind of pet is best for me?

Animal shelters take in many kinds of animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, and other small pets. Rescues usually specialize in a type of animal and some are breed specific. Some shelters and rescues take in barn animals like horses, goats, sheep, chickens and ducks. Consider the different types of pets and their needs to determine which type best fits your lifestyle. Knowing what to expect means you and your new pet will have a good relationship that lasts.

How can I find a pet?

Adopt reliably and reputably! Local animal shelters and rescues are a good bet because you can visit them and verify their reputation with friends and neighbors. Online search sites can also help you find adoptable pets near you. For example, Petfinder screens all adoption groups listed on its website. Avoid classified ads, bulletin boards, and sites such as Craigslist that do not check pets or the people who are posting pets. Many pets listed on sites that are not properly screened come from disreputable breeders or people who do not provide appropriate medical care or socialization for their animals.

I’ve found a pet I’d like to adopt. What’s the next step?

Write down the pet’s information (name, ID number, breed type, kennel number, etc.). Contact the shelter or rescue about the adoption process, what information you’ll need to provide, and when and how you can meet the pet. Adoption processes vary with the organization and may have changed due to COVID-19. Some are quick and simple; others take time and may involve a home visit.

What does it cost and what do I get for my money?

Adoption fees vary. Whatever the adoption fee, pets adopted from California animal shelters and reputable rescues are spayed/neutered, microchipped, up-to-date on vaccinations and usually come with a voucher for a veterinary health check. Added bonus: you get unconditional love from your new pet pal!

How can I prepare my home and family for a new pet?

Much depends on the kind of pet you’re adopting. Ask the shelter or rescue about your new pet’s needs, prepare your home and yard, purchase supplies, choose a veterinarian, be sure everyone is on board with the care-giving schedule, expectations and boundaries for the pet, and informed about potty and other training. Resident pets matter too, so be sure they are considered in this transition.

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