Choosing a the Right Rescue Cat or Dog

What to Look for When Choosing a Rescue Cat or Dog

by Cyd Ross

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 Rescuing a dog or cat from a shelter is a big decision. When you adopt a pet, you’re committing to caring for them for their lifetime. For a commitment this big, you need to make sure you’re choosing the best pet for your family and preparing to welcome them into your home.

Where to Find Your Rescue Pet

One of the first decisions you’ll make on your journey to finding the right pet is where to find them. Depending on where you live, there may be a few options, including municipal or city-owned facilities, privately-owned shelters, and rescue group networks.

Each facility has its benefits and drawbacks, so do your research to see what works for you. One commonality is that each facility will have an adoption fee to cover its services. That fee may cover spaying or neutering, microchipping, medically necessary in-take surgeries, or medications. Find out what type of care your rescue pet received so you can get any additional services they need after you bring them home.

Find the Best Fit for Your Family

Choosing the right rescue pet takes time and effort. Prepare yourself by thinking ahead with questions like:

  • What size of pet do you want?
  • Do you have a breed preference?
  • Do you have an age preference?
  • What type of personality do you prefer?
  • How do you feel about high or low energy?
  • Do you have a gender preference?

The more you know about what you want in your rescue pet, the better. Some may say you should be open to any rescue, but people aren’t meant to handle any type of pet. You want a dog or cat that fits your lifestyle so you will both be happy.

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Get to Know Your Potential Pet

One of the best ways to get to know your potential new family member is to spend time with them. Take them for a short walk around the facility, ask if you can play with them for a few minutes, and offer them some food to see how they react in these situations. Some shelters offer the ability to take an animal home for 24 hours to get a feel for how they do in your environment.

What You Need to Bring Your New Pet Home

A big part of adopting is preparing your home for your new furry friend. There are a few essential items you’ll need to welcome your pet.

  • A kennel or bed
  • Food and water bowls and food
  • Regular medications (i.e., flea and tick prevention)
  • Collar and ID tag
  • Toys
  • Leash (generally just for dogs, but some cats, too!)
  • Training treats

Another important step is finding a veterinarian for your animal’s regular healthcare and a boarder or pet-sitter in case your pet is unable to travel with you. Additional considerations include finding a dog or cat daycare if you think your pet needs regular interaction with other animals and a trainer if you feel you’ll need help with training.

What Comes Next?

Once you’ve welcomed your newest family member and feel you have all the supplies you need, you can work on the changes that come with a new pet. Make room in your finances for regular supplies, insurance, vet visits and regular boarding or daycare costs. Carve out time in your day to train and exercise your rescue, making it easier for them to acclimate to their new home.

The journey to getting a rescue cat or dog doesn’t end once you leave the shelter. You’re in for a lifetime of companionship, love and likely a few challenges, but in the end your thoughtfulness will pay off as your pet becomes part of your family.

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