Whether you’re choosing what movie you want to watch or deciding what to cook for dinner, some decisions don’t require much thought. But, the decision to adopt a pet certainly does.
National Adopt a Pet Day from a shelter is April 30th and what better way to celebrate than by saving a life and gaining a new best friend? If you’re considering adopting, it’s important to remember that a new pet is a huge responsibility. But if done correctly and with the right timing, it can be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Because there are so many things a first-time adopter doesn’t even think to research before bringing home a furry friend, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider:
Flora Beal of Miami-Dade Animal Services explains why it’s the best decision for you and your new furry friend to help clean the shelters starting Monday.
What bills and fees might I face?
If you’re considering adopting a pet like a cat or dog, expect to spend between $1,100 and $3,200 in the first year, estimates the ASPCA. This includes adoption fees, the cost of neutering or neutering your pet (if not already done by the welfare agency), food, vaccines, supplies, bedding and boxes.
“First year fees are often quite high because you buy everything you need and over time there are fewer of those things that show up,” says Christa Chadwick, VP of Hosting Services. at the ASPCA.
After that, you should be prepared to spend between $2,000 and $4,000 on your pet a year, estimates Eve Kaplan, a New Jersey-based certified financial planner, based on years of working with clients who own pets.
In addition to things like food and toiletries, annual costs include physical exams and vaccinations. You also need to be prepared for unexpected veterinary costs throughout your pet’s lifetime.
“All you need is one or two medical crises and all of a sudden that budget explodes and you’re spending $5,000 or $10,000 or more on vet bills,” Kaplan says.
What is the duration of the commitment?
Many first-time pet owners get distracted by the excitement of a new puppy or cat and think only about how that pet will fit into their lives in the short term. However, it is important to keep in mind that adopting a pet means committing to caring for it for years.
“Cats and dogs are usually with you for 10+ years or more and sometimes when it’s time for adoption people don’t consider this long-term investment,” says Chadwick.
If you want a companion but aren’t ready for a long-term commitment, consider adopting an older pet or an animal with a shorter lifespan, such as a betta fish or hamster.
What you need to know about adopting older puppies with Dr. Ian Kupkee.
Which animal will best suit my lifestyle?
Deciding which pet is best for you goes beyond choosing between a dog or a cat. Other important factors to consider are breed, size, and age. Would you want a puppy that will one day grow to 90 pounds if you live in a studio apartment? Would you want an older dog with back problems if you live in a house with stairs? Do you need a hypoallergenic pet if someone in your household is allergic?
Also, ask yourself if the timing is right for you. Do you plan to travel a lot soon? Do you have a big move coming up? Are you going through any major lifestyle changes? Rescuing a pet from a shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but only if you are prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with it. If the timing isn’t right, consider waiting a few weeks or months and reassessing the line.
While it can be tempting to choose the cutest animal you see, be sure to do your research on the breed and determine if that animal will actually fit your lifestyle.
How will I know that I have found the ideal person?
As the saying goes: when you know you know. When it comes to finding the perfect fit for you and your family, don’t force yourself. Sometimes you’ll have to meet a few different animals or even visit a few different shelters before you find the perfect animal for your lifestyle.
Luckily, there are plenty of animal sanctuaries in South Florida, all filled with furry friends waiting for their forever home. Here are some great places to start your search in South Florida:
- Broward County Humane Society: 2070 Griffin Road Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312, (954) 989-3977
- Humane Society of Greater Miami: 10700 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay, FL 33189, (305) 696-0800
- Rescue of abandoned animals: 1137 NE 9th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304, (954) 728-9010
- Save the Sage Animal Rescue Foundation: 2875 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 # (954) 530-1508
- animal help: 571 NE 44th St, Oakland Park, FL 33334, (754) 223-5378
- Paws 2 Care Coalition: 6219 Johnson St, Hollywood, FL 33024, (305) 525-3297
Animal communicator and author Lydia Hiby gives potential adopters advice on what to consider before entering the shelter.
To learn more about NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 Clean the shelters campaign, click here.