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How to Select the Perfect Pet from an Animal Shelter

By Suzanne Alicie

While many pet lovers choose to rescue an animal from the shelter, it is important to know certain things about the ones you are considering to ensure that you make a perfect match. Taking the time to select a perfectly matched pet will enable you to be sure you can provide a forever home with a pet that will fit into your family and schedule.

Strays and animals picked up by animal control will have less information provided, but after an examination by the vet and time spent at the shelter, the workers and volunteers will have a good idea about the behavior and personality of each animal. Animals that are turned in by their owners for whatever reason often have a lot of information for potential adopters. This may include notes such as “Scruffy loves other dogs but does not get along with cats.” Just a simple note such as that will help out in the decision making if you have a household with cats.

Some things to look for on information sheets or to ask the workers about include:

•  Is the dog or cat house trained?

•  How is the animal with small children?

•  Does the animal become nervous with loud noises?

•  Does it behave aggressively toward people or other animals?

•  Are there any known health problems?

Besides reading the info sheet and talking to the workers at the animal shelter, it is important that your whole family has a chance to interact with the animal before deciding to adopt. Most shelters have a small room where they allow potential families to play with the animal. This will enable you to see how the pet reacts to your children or whether your children are afraid of the pet. It may be tempting to choose an animal that you like and assume that your child will get over their fear; on the other hand, it may be better for your child if you let them select a pet they are comfortable with.

An ideal dog is one that is friendly and playful, but also easily controlled with simple commands. Of course, many times shelter animals may not have been trained well, but if he isn’t cringing in fear or snarling at you or your children, then more than likely he can be trained. Many animal shelters offer potential adopters a trial period in their home; this can help you make sure that after the pet adjusts to its new surroundings, it will fit into your family perfectly. If the pet is truly incompatible, you can return it and choose another pet.

Depending on the age of your children and the amount of time you have to devote to a pet, you may choose certain breeds or you may opt for a kitten instead of a cat. The decision to adopt a pet is a big one, and it’s important to know that although all animals deserve a chance to be part of a forever home, there are some that just won’t fit into your family. Taking the time to make sure you are selecting a pet that is a perfect match for your family will ensure that your new pet fits in with the family easily and provides all the attention, love, comfort and companionship you are looking for.

As a responsible pet owner, you will want to take care of arranging training, veterinary care and choosing an appropriate diet and schedule for your new pet. Keep in mind that adopting a pet is a big step and requires being committed to doing everything you can to make that animal’s life better. This includes regular vet visits, a good quality food (like CANIDAE Single Grain Protein Plus!), and perhaps even doggie daycare while you are at work and the kids are at school.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie
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