Adopting a pet is a special experience and an important decision. Be prepared before taking the plunge and finding the purrfect four-legged companion. 

Step 1: Research the Breed

Based on your research about the breed of your future pet, you’ll have a good idea on 

Are you looking for a cat or a dog? If you have any space restrictions at home, or breed restrictions in your area, that can help you determine what kind of pet is right for your household. Your personality and lifestyle, as well as how much time you spend at home should be taken into consideration before you decide to adopt.

For example, some types of dogs have tons of energy and require a lot of exercise. If you hit the pavement daily for a walk or a run, they would be a perfect companion for you! If committing to daily exercise would be difficult, a calmer breed may be a better fit.

Step 2: Think About Gender & Age

Show up to the animal shelter with a plan. It will make things easier for you and be the best thing for your future pet!

the personality and size that will work best for you and your lifestyle. It’s also important to think about the desired gender and age of your future pet. Even within breeds, animals may have different personality traits and needs based on whether they’re male or female, just like us! 

Age is another important factor when adopting. You may want a puppy or kitten that you can raise and train—or have it grow up with the kids! Younger animals are adorable, but they take a lot more care and attention. An animal that is a few years old will likely be potty trained, but still have a playful demeanor like they did in their younger days. The animals most in need of adoption are typically older, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need your love. Older animals typically have an easy going temperament and will appreciate you more than you’ll know.

Step 3: Set Aside Some Money

Plan for a few out-of-pocket expenses, one of them being adoption fees. The shelters are typically not-for-profits and collect fees so they can keep the lights on and the dog bowls full. Fees may range anywhere from $25-$100. 

Determine the re-occurring expenses you’ll have. For example, check out the type of food you’ll buy for your future pet. Read labels or ask pet store employees how much your future pet will eat. Some shelter animals are spayed or neutered, but always make sure you include that in your upfront costs. After you’ve factored in these expenses, then you can think about the fun stuff! Rhinestone collars, plaid-print leashes, comfy beds, yummy pet treats and bright, squishy toys (preferably ones that don’t make noise, you’ll thank us later).

Step 4: Bring a Family Member or Friend

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend, but if you have a human best friend—it’s a good idea to bring them along with you to the shelter. A family member or friend is a good sounding board and can weigh in on how your future pet will fit with your personality and lifestyle. Plus, adopting a pet is a fun experience, share it with someone special!

Step: 5: Paws (Oops, Pause)

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to adopt, it’s hard to contain your excitement. You’re probably just as giddy as the dog wagging its tail, staring at you from inside the glass! Make sure that your giddiness doesn’t cause you to act too quickly, though. When you think you’ve found the “the one,” pause and think about it. Run an errand and come back to the shelter, talk about it with your family member or friend or maybe even sleep on it. If it’s meant to be, it will be.

We wish you the best on your adoption journey! Your future pet is lucky to have you.