The task of finding a new pet for your home can be overwhelming.
There are so many places to go to pick your new member of the family. How do you know where to go and how to find the right pet?
Animal shelters, in particular no-kill shelters, have been popping up across suburban Chicago for years as many people are concerned about obtaining pets from puppy mills, which are overpopulated facilities where puppies are often inbred, live in poor conditions and receive minimal care.
Marc Portugal, development manager of Save-A-Pet Illinois, is a strong advocate against puppy mills and warns that pet stores often get their puppies from these facilities. “There is no guarantee that pet stores acquire their pets from reputable sources. They don’t have the experience to care for pets and are running interference with rescue groups.”
Sandy Rogers, of C.A.R.E. for the Evanston Animal Shelter, agrees that the quality of life for animals from pet stores can be awful. They may not receive the attention they need from caretakers. The experience is different at shelters because the volunteers at the shelter want to be there and passionately tend to the animals.
Portugal also believes that no-kill shelters give animals a second chance that they might not have had under different circumstances. It is a great way to save lives and expand a family.
Shelters used to have negative connotations as dark and cold places, but no-kill shelters like PAWS Chicago have broken free of those stereotypes and provide a warm and welcoming haven for homeless cats and dogs. PAWS is the largest no-kill humane and adoption organization in Chicago. In their bright and cheery space, pets happily prepare to transition to their forever home.
Sarah Ahlberg, development and communications manager at PAWS Chicago, encourages the whole family to come to the shelter when adopting a pet. “It is a chance for the family and the pet to fall in love together,” Ahlberg says.
Families can participate in puppy training together and even attend adoption counseling at PAWS Chicago.
In these shelters, pets receive the care and attention they were previously deprived of thanks in great part to the countless devoted volunteers who affectionately tend to them.
Before searching for the right pet, these shelters hope families keep a few things in mind to find the perfect companion to welcome home and have provided some tips:
- Consider your lifestyle and the one you want for your potential pet
- Are you looking for an active dog to accompany you on your morning runs or would a cat who roams the house quietly while you flip through the newspaper be better?
- Think about cost and time. Do you have the funds to train your new puppy? Does your schedule allow for you to train the pup yourself?
- Are you expanding your family? Do you have plans to move in the future?
- Visit local animal shelters and rescue centers and bring your family
- If the shelters or rescue centers have a website, look online to find out more about them and the animals they currently have
- Some shelters, like PAWS, offer surveys to match up you up with the best potential dog
- Ask the volunteers for help and guidance with the various animals
Once at the shelter, take a tour and see which animal chooses your family. One will certainly flock to you and your kids, and soon you will have a loyal and loving addition to your family