STEP 3: FINDING YOUR PET
There are many ways to adopt a pet and options are even larger now with online resources. We recommend exploring options in your area and meeting many animals before making your choice. Below we explain some of the benefits and cautions of each source of adoptable animals.
Pet stores- Pet stores are popular choices for the purchasing of fish, small mammals, and reptiles/amphibians. Some pet stores also sell puppies and cats. We recommend looking at reviews and conditions in pet stores before purchasing an animal to ensure the animal is properly cared for and healthy. Pet stores may get animals from puppy mills and poor fish breeders and these animals often have many health issues. However, specialty pet stores (reptile stores, fish stores) often have staffed that are knowledgeable and care greatly for the animals. Some large pet store chains (I.e. PetSmart, Petco) hold adoption events for local rescues and have cats from local rescues in store to adopt.
Animal Rescues- Animal rescues are a great way to adopt a variety of animals, including small mammals, birds, and reptiles, not just dog and cats! If a specific temperament is important to you, we recommend exploring foster-based animal rescues as the volunteers in the rescue will know how the animal was in a home setting. When animals are in cages, as in many humane societies, they often act differently than they do at home. A benefit to animal rescues is that many expensive vet procedures and care will likely be completed already. That means, vaccinations will be up to date and a dog/cat will be spayed/neutered. The adoption fee is often lower than would be the cost at the vet to have these done on a dog/cat you received for free, from a breeder, or at a pet store. Large scale rescues (i.e. humane societies) may also include a free vet visit after adoption and discounts on training. There are also rescues that cater to helping specific dog and cat breeds if a specific breed is important to you. As with pet stores, researching reviews and visiting rescues will give you great insight in the quality of care they provide for their animals.
Breeders- Breeders are a popular choice for people looking for a specific type of dog/cat. Breeders may make temperament guarantees due to their breeding process and lineage, but it is important to know that personalities will still vary between animals. Animals from breeders may be expensive and often only includes initial vaccinations. Visiting different breeders, meeting their animals, and seeing their animal spaces will give you helpful information as will looking into reviews. Many breeders may require you to sign an agreement to spay/neuter the animal as well and require you to pay more money for breeding rights if you do not have the animal spayed/neutered. If you wish to have a service animal, going through a breeder and training company is often the recommended option for meeting your needs.
People in your community- It is especially popular in rural communities for people to receive free puppies and kittens from farms. While this may seem like the cheapest option, it often ends up being expensive. Many animals from these settings may have eye or respiratory infections from living outdoors or from sick mothers that require vet care. They will also need to be spayed/neutered which ranges from $120-500 across regions and veterinarians.