So you want to adopt a pet?
Here's what you should consider first
Aug 18, 2017
Owning a pet is one of the most gratifying, therapeutic things you can do. I would know, I have three Chihuahas and an aspin.
Although there’s always the option of buying a cat or a dog from a reputable breeder or pet shop, animal advocates now encourage would-be pet owners to adopt animals in shelters instead. (And if you still choose to do so, please make sure to buy from those who actually take care of the animals. Avoid those who overbreed them.)
Marita Baquiran-Yasuda, founder of MBY Pet Rescue and Sanctuary, stands by this “adopt, don’t shop” slogan. Her cat and dog rescue and rehabilitation facility in Morong, Rizal is home to some 600 furry friends, most of which are just waiting for caring, loving humans to open their homes to them.
According to Baquiran-Yasuda, many people express interest in adopting, but most don’t follow through once they find out about the stringent adoption process. Others also adopt, only to return the animal after a few weeks once figure out that they can’t handle the responsibility. Some return the animals because they discover that the breed or the animal’s personality isn’t compatible with theirs. Some end up giving the animal up because they later find out that keeping pets would require a change in lifestyle.
But what people have to understand is that these animals aren’t cars you take out for a test drive. They are much like children and you wouldn’t question the stringent processes and policies agencies put in place when it comes to adopting a child, right? Not having a permanent home takes its toll on these animals, too.
So if you’re thinking of adopting an animal, here are things Baquiran-Yasuda says you should consider first:
1. Are you patient enough?
Know that adopting a cat or a dog takes time. Shelters usually conduct several interviews to assess the owner and his or her compatibility with the animal he or she is interested in. You just don’t show up at a shelter and walk out with a pet. Remember, these animals have already been abused and abandoned—some more than once—so the goal is to find them a forever home, not just a pit stop.
Also know that when you do get a new pet, taking care of it requires even more patience and dedication. You’ll have to feed it, train it, groom it, bring it to the vet, and give it some extra TLC.
2. Can you afford it?
Like I said, taking care of a pet requires patience and dedication. It also requires money. Some animals in shelters are older; others have already been sick so they might just require more attention and supplements or medication. Remember, you have to pay for food, grooming, veterinary services, toys, and whatever else your dog or cat may need.
Baquiran-Yasuda says: “You don’t have to be a millionaire, but you have to be able to afford everything that the animal needs.”
3. Do you live in a place where your pet can be comfortable?
If you live in a condo unit that doesn’t have access to a park or a field, don’t even think about getting a big dog. If you reside in a place where pets aren’t even allowed, you either move or you rethink getting a pet. Your home will be the animal’s home. Don’t just consider your comfort. Think of the animal’s, too.
4. Do you live with other people?
Now this is a trick question. If you live alone, you really have to reconsider getting a pet. You can’t just leave the animal inside your house unsupervised the whole day, or worse, lock it up in a cage until someone gets home. That’s just cruel. The only way this’ll work is if somebody watches your pet for you. And it has to be someone you can trust—someone who will be good to your pet even when you aren’t looking.
And if you live with other people, please make sure that they are fine with actually having a dog or cat in the house. Because if they aren’t, you might just end up abandoning the animal, too. Baquiran-Yasuda says it has happened before and she would rather that it doesn’t happen again.
All photos courtesy of Unsplash
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