What to Keep in Mind When Considering Adoption


Adopting a dog isn’t as simple as pointing at a cute picture online and deciding that’s the one. There’s so much behind-the-scenes work to consider, and a lot of people don’t realize just how much planning and thought goes into adopting or buying. In honor of National Dog Day, here’s some advice to help guide potential pet parents through the process, based off of expert tips from Elizabeth A. Schutte, managing director of The Ark at JFK.


Understand the Bigger Financial Picture
Up front, you should be prepared for vaccination, adoption and neutering fees with additional, but optional, expenses such as obedience classes. Once those payments are complete, you should expect to spend another $1,677.60 yearly on food, toys, annual vet check-ups and general everyday expenses. That number doesn’t include those unexpected vet visits, either. It’s all fun and games until your dog jumps for a ball, tears his ACL and puts you out a couple thousand dollars for a metal brace in his knee.


Research, Research & More Research
Look up information about the type of dog you’re interested in to make sure you can accommodate its needs. If you’re seeking a pup with high-energy, make sure you have the time and space so it can be properly exercised. If you’re into traveling, you might want to consider a smaller, less-active dog that would make a good flight companion.


Conduct a Background Check
Whether you’re adopting from a shelter or buying from a breeder, you should visit the place first and meet the owner, checking out the surroundings for cleanliness and upkeep. It also wouldn’t hurt to observe how your potential pup interacts and socializes with others. Avoid buying from online advertisements or forums, as more times than not they are a front for foreign puppy mills.


Consider Adoption
If you don’t have your heart set on a specific breed, visit your local shelter. It can work out to be cheaper for you, and you’ll have the satisfaction of saving a life.


Be Ready for Responsibility
Adopting a puppy is like having a child. They’re not potty-trained, they’ll keep you up all night and they’re expensive. If you’re planning on having a child, or just had one, consider a fully trained dog that’s already a year or two old.


Remember, They're Not Accessories
If I had a dollar for every college kid that rented a house off-campus and immediately adopted a dog, not thinking about where that pup would end up after graduation or during breaks, and then subsequently scrambled to relocate it, well, I'd be on an island right now. Don't adopt a dog on a whim because you just decided you want one. They're amazing, loving companions so while I totally understand the desire to have one, think a year or two into the future and make sure you can actually provide for them in the long term.


Know your surroundings
If you’re planning to move, make sure you understand and are familiar with your new community or building’s rules and regulations on animals. If you're renting a house, make sure your landlord allows dogs and, if your lease is coming to an end, make sure your dog will be welcome wherever you relocate. Certain breeds are banned entirely, and most apartment buildings have height and weight requirements that dogs must adhere to. The most important thing you can do throughout this whole process is to make sure that your future pup will have a loving forever home.


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