Where do I start?
We suggest that you read the following information before applying to adopt a pet. We are sure that you will find all this information helpful in choosing what kind of pet would be good for you. Once you have read it all through, you can either look at our list of pets for adoption, or come in and visit the refuge to meet one of our many pets that are looking for good homes.
Does it matter if my pet sheds a lot of fur in my house?
Many breeds of dogs, and all cats shed fur. Some shed less than others, but they still shed. Pet fur will get all over your house – no matter how much you clean! Are you ready for this? Are you prepared to clean up after what could be furballs rolling down your hall?
Do I travel a lot?
And am I home enough to spend time with my pet? ALL pets need someone around to spend time with them. It is important for puppies and kittens to have owners that are home to train and socialize them at the critical points in their development. Adult dogs and cats need people around to meet their basic daily needs to avoid behavioural problems that can arise from being deprived of human contact.
Can I afford to take care of extra expenses if my pet becomes sick?
Most people do not think about care if their pet should become sick or need surgery. If they do, they often discount the thought and say, “well MY pet won’t get sick”. Keep in mind that it will cost you money just to walk into the vets. If your pet should need any kind of surgery or x-rays the cost will quickly mount up. It will cost more for an emergency. Many pets are brought to shelters because they become ill and owners refuse/cannot pay for vet care. This causes much suffering on the part of the pet, and their owners.
What size dog do I really want?
Look in a breed book or online at breed types, their size when grown, and requirements of the breed. Just because they are small doesn’t mean that a dog will be a lap dog or just because they are big doesn’t mean that it won’t be easy to handle. Many small dogs are constantly on the go. Another misconception is that small dogs are better with children. Now, sometimes this is the case. However, you must remember that because they are so tiny, small dogs learn quickly how to fend for themselves and if they feel endangered they are quick to nip and bite. Small dogs can be good for apartments or people who can’t physically handle a large dog. Large dogs require more strict training than small dogs simply because of their size. A large dog with no manners is MUCH harder to control than a small dog with the same problems. Are you prepared to go through training with your large breed dog? Also remember that large breed dogs can sometimes “take a beating” much better than small dogs. Large dogs are not usually quite as offended if a child accidentally pulls a clump of fur or trips on them. Again, read up on “your breed” and most importantly think about each dog as an individual and how that specific dog will fit into your family.
Do I know how to take care of a pet?
Do I know what the pets needs are? Many people are not aware of everything that owning a pet involves. Talk to people who have had pets, or have pets now. Possibly offer to pet sit for few days so you get a small idea of what it will be like to have a pet in the house. Talk to adoption staff if you would like information on specific needs of your new pet.
Am I willing to exercise and clean-up after my dog several times a day?
No matter how big or small, calm or active your dog is he or she will need to go outside for exercise and to relieve himself AT LEAST 3-5 times a day. This can increase with puppies, small dogs, or senior dogs. Dogs don’t care if it bright and sunny or raining “cats and dogs”, when they need to go, they need to go!
Can I deal with a cat scratching my furniture?
There are many ways to prevent a cat from scratching furniture but it will occasionally happen. Are you prepared to deal with this. We DO NOT recommend declawing as a way to stop cats from stretching. See our training tips page for more information on this subject.
Am I familiar with the basic personality traits of different breeds of dogs that I might be interested in?
As mentioned above, it is a wise idea to research the basic personality traits of the breed of dog you are interested in adopting. This does not mean that the dogs personality will be exactly how the book describes, but can be close. In mixed breed dogs, you may find a dog LOOKS like a particular breed but ACTS like another – make sure to take this into consideration too. It is very important to be familiar with the breed or mix you are adopting, but remember that every dog is an individual and beware or expecting your dog to fit into a cookie cutter image of a specific breed/type of dog.
Will my current pets accept a new pet?
Please consider your current pets when taking a new pet into the home. Some pets just won’t be happy with a newcomer. A lot of times current pets can exhibit bad behaviour as a result of the stress caused by a new pet in the home. Usually these behaviours can be corrected with a lot of time and patience, but sometimes it is just not a good idea to have a new pet in the home. Some things to consider are: The age of your current pets – sometimes older pets don’t want to be bothered with new, rowdy children. Consider adopting an older, calmer pet to help keep a happy balance. How socialised are your current pets – sometimes if not socialised well with other animals current pets may never accept a new pet into the home. Possibly try socialising your current pet with the type of pet you are considering adopting to see how they react. How needy are your current pets – Some pet require a lot of time and attention either due to personality or medical concerns. Will you still be able to give that pet all the attention it requires if you adopt a new pet?
Am I getting a pet to teach my children how to be responsible?
If done properly pets can be a great way to teach children responsibility. But most of the time this theory results in pets being brought to refuges. Children cannot be expected to be the sole caretaker of a new pet no matter how much they promise! Are you ready to pick up all the slack as the newness of the pet wears off? A good way to teach children responsibility is to give them certain jobs that relate to pet care, such as feeding, clean water, brushing, etc. and then follow up with them to make sure it gets done.
Does anyone in my family suffer from allergies to animals?
Allergies are on the list of top reasons people surrender pets to refuges. Before adopting a pet make sure that no one in the family is allergic. If you are not sure if you are allergic or not spend a lot of time with friends who have pets to see if you get a reaction to the pet hair and dander. A lot of time people will not react right away if not severely allergic, but having a pet in the home for a period of time, as the pet dander builds up, will have an allergic reaction. If after spending time with a friend who has pets you don’t get a reaction, or get a mild reaction, you may want to consider going for allergy testing. It will be worth it to find out now, before committing your heart and home to a new pet, and then finding out you are allergic. If you are mildly allergic and don’t mind having a pet in the home talk to adoption staff for a list of breeds/types that are better for people with allergies.
With thanks to Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc