Pet Adoption

Many people are aware of the pet overpopulation issue, but few are aware of the extent of the problem. Each year, 2.7 million pets are euthanized because there just aren’t enough homes, but only 30% of pets in homes come from shelters. As someone looking to add a pet to your family, you should consider pet adoption. Many people who purchase pets from a breeder do so because they are looking for a specific breed or look. However, purebred pets from English Bulldogs and Poodles to Siamese and Himalayan cats find themselves looking for new homes, too. Animal shelters receive pets as strays that their animal control officers pick up, those who are surrendered by their owners for financial or other lifestyle reasons, and pets whose owners have passed away. Most animals in shelters are there due to no fault of their own.

If you are reading this article, you probably already know about the benefits of being a pet owner. The companionship a pet brings can help decrease depression and anxiety. People who have gone through traumatic events and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder often find comfort in having a pet to come home to. Those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s frequently benefit from pet therapy; many times, these patients’ loss of memory causes anxiety and irritation, and having a pet around helps to relieve some of that anxiety. So many more homes could open up for pets in need.

Before considering pet adoption, there are a few things you should consider to make sure you choose the right pet for your family. Think about your lifestyle. How much time are you realistically able to devote to your new family member? Puppies have to be let out every few hours, while an adult dog who is already housebroken can go most of the work day without being let outside. If you want to have a dog who is an exercise buddy and will enjoy daily jogs, you may want to consider a young, energetic dog. On the other hand, if having a dog to snuggle with on the couch after a long day is what you are looking for, an older, more laid back dog may be a better choice. Kittens can be very energetic and require more exercise through play than an older cat. Feel free to ask shelter personnel and foster parents about the pets’ personalities; they may be able to suggest the perfect new family member for you!

There are many place that offer pet adoption. City shelters often have the largest number and variety of pets up for adoption. For instance, in New Orleans there’s the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter and the Louisiana SPCA. There are many private all-breed rescue organizations in the area that rehome owner-surrendered pets. Finally, all-breed rescues specialize in finding homes for pets of certain breeds. These organizations are very knowledgeable about their breed, and often house adoptable pets in foster homes. Adoption processes and fees can vary by organization. At the time of adoption, many rescued pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped.

Once you have chosen the pet that is the best fit for your family, do your best to stick with a routine. By offering consistency for your new family member, they will be able to more quickly learn the routine and what is expected of them. Feeding them the same times each day will help get them on a schedule that allows them to make it to the appropriate places to go potty. For cats, keeping the litterbox clean will help them want to continue using it. The first few weeks they are in your home set the framework of what is going to be expected of the new pet.

Remember, there are so many pets in need of homes – why not consider pet adoption and give a homeless pet the family they deserve? Click here to see what adoptions are available through Metairie Small Animal Hospital.