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Sun, Feb. 16

Always consider the facts before adopting a pet

Recent events in our community featuring pet adoptions, such as the PetSmart Adopt-a-thon and the "Dog-toberfest" held on the square last Sunday, have sparked the interest of many individuals and families in adding a new pet to their households. While we at Yavapai Humane Society and other animal welfare agencies welcome this development, we would like to remind everyone that assuming responsibility for a companion animal should not be a spur of the moment decision. Choosing a pet should involve some thoughtful consideration. After all, a pet should become a lifetime member of your family. Some forethought in choosing one will help ensure a good match resulting in a loveable companion that will enhance the lives of each family member. Before you make a final commitment, we suggest you give some thought to some important aspects of pet ownership.

First, consider your lifestyle. Do you live in an apartment or a private residence? Are you gone most of the day? How many family members are in your household and what are their ages and activity levels? If you live in a small home and are gone most of the day, an adult cat, or two would probably be a good choice. Cats make great companions and usually don't require a lot of attention. Most dogs, on the other hand require a fair amount of attention if they are to become a good pet.

Once you decide on a dog or a cat, puppy or a kitten, you need to think about whether a particular pet would be right for you and other family members. For instance, a strong active pet may be too much for a young child or elderly person to handle. Maybe a small breed dog or cat would be better for such a situation. If the home is large with a fenced yard, and there are older children who will be available most of the time to care for and play with the pet, a large breed dog or puppy would likely be a good choice. You can often compensate for the lack of a fenced yard by taking the dog for long walks on a leash. However, a family member must be committed to walking a large and/or active dog on a regular basis.

To summarize, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that you consider five key questions before you adopt a pet. These questions are restated here:

1. Is the pet right for my family members?

2. Who will be the primary caretaker for the pet?

3. Can I afford the pet?

4. Am I ready to make a long-term commitment?

5. Are you committed to making this pet a good citizen?

After thinking about these questions, we hope you will be in a position to decide on the type and characteristics of a pet that's appropriate for you or your family. If you then decide to proceed to choose a pet, we hope you will start your search at the Yavapai Humane Society or at other local animal rescue groups. We have many pets that are just waiting for the right family or person to provide a lifetime, loving home. Some are purebreds, but we encourage you to also consider mixed breeds, especially adults where it's easy to determine temperament and size. There are also several great kitties at the YHS Adoption Center located in the Prescott PetSmart store.

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