Bringing home a new furry friend can be the beginning of a wonderful and rewarding relationship, and adopting from a local animal shelter should be the place to begin the search.
In 2012, the Sierra Vista Animal Care and Control took in more than 3,000 animals. According to www.adoptapet.com, approximately four million adoptable dogs and cats are killed each year due mainly to overpopulation. Adopting from a local shelter gives abandoned pets a needed home, saves their lives and can possibly prevent excessive animal reproduction.
While adopting a family pet is not a difficult process, there are many things to consider before making the decision. Be sure that the entire family agrees with the adoption, is ready to make the long-term commitment and that every member is willing to help ease the transition of the pet into its new home. Compare the family budget and the cost of owning a pet to ensure there will not be financial strain. Most importantly, make sure the family schedule allows ample opportunity to spend quality time with the new pet.
Once the decision is made to adopt, visit the local animal shelter to see what potential ‘friends’ are available. If you see one you like, ask to take it out for a walk, play with it and get to know the animal. If there are children in the family, bring them along to be sure they and the animal interact well.
If other animals are already in the home, bring them to the shelter and let them interact, as well. And if there is any uncertainty, take a break and come back on another day. Professionals recommend multiple visits.
It costs $25 to adopt a dog or cat from the Sierra Vista Animal Care and Control Facility. According to their policy, this includes an examination by the veterinarian, vaccinations, spay or neuter and a microchip. If the dog or cat requires a series of vaccinations, the adoption fee will only cover the first set of vaccinations, to include the rabies vaccination.
Once the family makes the decision to adopt, it is important to prepare the future home for the pet’s arrival. Decide where the new family member will sleep and eat. Purchase animal bedding, toys, bowls, food, a collar, a leash and treats before going to get the new animal. Ease the dog or cat into the new surroundings, keeping children calm and voices, TVs or other media at a low volume, and the house quiet and peaceful.
Don’t be alarmed if the new pet is not as active as it was at the animal shelter as it is common for an animal’s nerves to prevent playfulness in a brand-new environment. As the dog or cat gets comfortable in its new surroundings, its activity level should increase.
Judy Kershner, Sierra Vista Animal Care and Control customer service representative, said, “It is important for people to realize that [pet adoption] is not a 10-minute commitment. It’s a lifetime commitment. We see all the time people are excited, and then we see [the adopted pet] on craigslist and it says ‘No time for dog.’ They need to understand the commitment that they are making is for the life of the animal, not just for their pleasure. The more time that they spend with it, the better the dog is going to be.”
Dedication, detailed preparation and well-planned first days are ingredients for a smooth and simple adoption process. Do ample online research or visit the local library, avoid rushing the search, and spend as much time getting to know the animal before it comes home. Following these tips and hints gets the perfect companion for the perfect family.
People who are interested in adopting should visit the local animal shelters located in Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Huachuca City, Wilcox, Tombstone and Sierra Vista. For location addresses, visit www.cochise.az.gov/cochise_sheriff.aspx?id=2528.