Pet Adoption Tips – Australia
Adopting a new pet is an exciting time for pet owners. Pet adoption is a very important decision and one not to be taken lightly. There are many things to think about when welcoming your new family member, so here are a few pet adoption tips to consider when making that all important choice.
First off, do your research. If you’re considering adopting a dog, consider your lifestyle and choose a dog to match. Consider the suitability of its temperament, size, maintenance and yes, even expected life span. If you’re kids are heading off to Uni in the next few years and you have plans to travel around Australia, perhaps a large breed puppy isn’t the best choice for you. A small adult dog might be a great place to start your search. If you have an acreage or want a running companion, a large high energy dog might be the perfect match. Wikipedia’s List of Dog Breeds is a good place to start your research and help narrow down the search to dogs that are more likely to suit your lifestyle.
Within cat breeds, behavior, personality, and sometimes appearance varies widely. Know what’s important to you before you head off to your local shelter. Do you like affectionate cats, prefer low shedding or have kids to consider? Wikipedia also has a list of cat breeds that you may find helpful. The best source of information though regarding the personalities of cats is the staff caring for the animals daily at your local shelter. Be sure to discuss with them what’s important to you in a companion pet and ask for their assistance and suggestions.
After narrowing your selection down to a few suitable breeds, have a look online at the current pets available for adoption. Most shelters will list the animal breeds and crosses with relative accuracy. If you have your heart set on a purebred, let the shelter know and check back regularly for online updates or visit a breed specific rescue in Australia. The Melbourne Dogs has a great list of breed specific rescues located across Australia.
If you do find an animal locally that may be right for you, call the shelter and make an appointment. At the shelter, take the time to visit with the animal in the meet-and-greet room or look for a quiet area. Walking a dog and watching them outside the shelter setting is also a great way to observe them. For cats, try to find a quiet place at the shelter to interact with them.
If you have children or other pets, be certain to bring the whole family and make sure that everyone gets along with the potential new family member.
Don’t be in a rush and take your time to decide. If the first animal you meet is not suitable, that is okay; shelters generally have a large selection of breeds and personalities looking for loving homes. Take your time and find the right one for you.
Some shelters also have foster programs. If the time to adopt is not right or you haven’t yet found the right pet, consider the option to foster. Often dogs and cats in shelters are under a lot of stress and their personalities may not shine through. I personally have fostered 27 dogs over the years, some puppies but mostly adult dogs. It’s truly a rewarding experience to watch a timid, neglected and sometimes abused dog change and flourish with in-home loving care and attention. By choosing to foster, you’re giving that animal a greater chance of finding their forever family while enjoying the benefits of loving companionship without the long term commitment. You may even find over time that your foster animal has already found it’s forever home in yours.
Pet adoption can be a very rewarding process. So before you adopt, do your research and take the time you need. A reputable shelter will make every effort to assist you in ensuring a good match to avoid returns and ensure the best possible outcome for both you and the animal. Review their pet adoption policies, ask about their health and any known history. If you take the time to get it right, not only will you be enriching the life of your new pet, you will also be enriching the lives of yourself and your family.
Our Australian charity of the month, Animal Welfare League NSW has animals currently waiting for loving homes. They have 15 pet adoption branches located throughout NSW and offer a foster carer program. Visit their website to browse adoptable pets, find advice on caring for a pet and review their additional services.
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