Simple Questions To Help You Make Up Your Mind

-“Acquiring a dog is the only time most people get to choose a relative.”-



            The purpose of this chapter is to help you to take a clear and honest look at the question of whether pet adoption is right for you and your family.  When watching the commercials about abused and neglected animals in need of adoption, your heart strings get tugged on, and you jump right into an adoption headlong.  The purpose of this book is to help you take it one “step” at a time and ensure that you are getting into a lasting relationship that will be beneficial for both you and your new family member.

            When approaching the subject of adoption there are a number of questions that you need to ask before deciding to pursue a specific animal, or any animal for that matter.  The following checklist should be gone through carefully, and the questions should be answered honestly.


  • Why do I want to adopt a pet in the first place?  Examining your motives is a healthy thing to do.  You are about to make a lifetime commitment, and you need to be sure.  Not only that, but knowing the reasons you want to adopt will help you to choose the best pet for your needs.  Consider such reasons as:
    • Replacing a pet that has passed.
    • A companion/friend
    • A playmate for a child

Identifying these things now will go a long way towards narrowing your search later, as well as keeping you from falling for the first dog/cat you see, even if it does not meet your requirements.

  • Am I financially able to take on the responsibility of a new pet?  It is worth thinking about the fact that pets can be expensive.  There are a number of financial expenditures that go along with responsible pet ownership.
    • Food
    • Vet bills
      • ID chips
      • Spay/Neuter
      • Surgery
      • Shots
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Etc.
  • Vacations (If you take your pet with you, many hotels require a pet deposit.  If you leave your pet behind there will be the cost of boarding your pet or paying someone to babysit.  Many times this is overlooked when the decision to bring a pet home is made.)
  • Increase in rent or pet deposit.

Be sure to take a look at your monthly income to see if you have sufficient to cover these expenses.  Remember, that the larger the animal, the more they will eat and the higher the expenses will be all around, while small pets, such as toy dogs many times require special food which can be more expensive as well.  Do your research to know as much as possible about the type of animal you are adopting.  Many of the dogs up for adoption are purebreds, either in the shelters or in a rescue program.  The internet has many websites where you can research the needs of those specific breeds.  A list of such websites can be found in the resource section of this eBook. 

  • Does my schedule allow me the proper amount of time for my new pet? Like it or not, many of us are just too busy to take care of an animal.  Dogs require a lot of attention and personal time to be healthy and happy.  Regular walks and consistent attention are required.  Cats, though not as much, also thrive on personal attention.  If your job keeps you away for days at a time, or even all day every day, you may need to reconsider your decision to adopt at this time.  Ask yourself the following questions:
    • How many hours a day am I away from home now?
    • Do I have the time to walk a dog regularly and play with him?
    • Will there be anyone at home while I am at work?
    • How much time will this new pet have to spend alone?

A busy schedule does not mean that you cannot adopt a pet.  If you have a busy schedule you could consider the possibility of adopting two pets, especially kittens.  This would give them companionship and a play partner when you are away.  Plus…it would be double the fun when you get home!  The important part is just to carefully consider your options, and choose the one that would be the most beneficial to everyone involved.

Honesty now will save you a mountain of heartache later.  If you find you are unable to adopt at this time, but want to do something, make a donation to your local humane society or the ASPCA.  Helping financially is still more than millions of people do!

  • Do I or any members of my family have any medical conditions that would make the presence of an animal in the home difficult?
    • Allergies
    • Asthma
    • Etc.

Again, your heart may say yes, but bringing an animal into a home where a member of the family will suffer as a result is not a wise choice in this author’s opinion.  At the very least, you should consult your family doctor as to whether there are any medications that can control the situation should it arise, before bringing the animal home.

  • Am I willing to put up with the fur and shedding of an animal? 
    Pets shed.  That is, all but a few breeds shed.  Some shed a lot!  Granted, they make up for it is other ways, but this still needs to be understood.  Having a home with a dog or cat means a cat with fur on the carpet, floor, couch, bed and wherever else your furry friend decides to wander.  You would be surprised how quickly this hair can pile up, even from shorthaired dogs and cats.  Longhaired pets do not necessarily shed more frequently, but their fur is much more noticeable due to the length of it.
  • Am I willing to be patient and train this animal? Lack of training often contributes to animals being taken to shelters.  This is especially true of dogs.  Puppies may be cute, but a full sized dog that still jumps on people and chews up slippers is not anyone’s idea of a good pet.  The dog you adopt may very well have behavioral issues, such as those mentioned above.  If you are not willing to devote the time to training and overcoming these issues, you may need to look for a less intense animal to adopt.
  • Do I have adequate living space for the animal I am looking to adopt? If you live in a one bedroom apartment, you may not want to adopt a large hyper dog.  A cat might be better, or a small breed.  If your new pet requires exercise, do you have adequate space?  Try to tailor your new pet to the type of surroundings you possess.
  • Does my apartment or rental property allow pets?  If so:
    • Do they require an increase in rent or pet deposit?
    • Can I afford the increase in rent, and/or the pet deposit? (These may be non-refundable)


Remember, 20 percent of the people who leave their pets at an animal shelter, adopted their pets from a shelter.  They too had good intentions.  Answering the questions in this chapter honestly will be go a long way in helping you to be a long term pet owner.


On a Legal Note


            Before rushing out to adopt that pet, it is important to check into your local ordinances regarding pets.  Some towns do not allow certain breeds of dogs, such as Pitbulls or Rottweiler’s.  Many towns also have a limit on the number of pets you can have in your home.  Be sure to check with your local town or county about their regulations before you invest the money in adopting that pet.