More than 80 million households in the United States own at least one dog or cat, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you have recently decided to join those millions and become a pet owner, where do you go to get that dog or cat? Several options are available for finding an animal companion.
Humane Society and animal rescues. Humane societies have been operating in the United States for more than 100 years. Adopting a dog or cat from your local humane society or animal rescue can save an animal’s life.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, dogs and cats living in these facilities are usually there because of human issues. Many pets have been given up by a family that has had to relocate. Some are pets whose owner has developed allergies or has passed away. These dogs and cats are ready to find love in a new home.
The benefits to finding an animal companion through these organizations are many. Generally, a local veterinarian will have examined the dog or cat and administered vaccinations, plus treatments for fleas and ear mites. In addition, most will have spayed or neutered the animal before releasing them into the care of an adoptive family.
There will likely be adoption fees at the humane society or animal rescue. The fees will vary by state and facility. Some facilities may simply ask for a donation, while others will incorporate the fees for spaying/neutering and vaccinations.
No-kill shelters. A no-kill shelter advocates that no healthy, adoptable pet will be euthanized because of space limitations. Dog and cat adoption procedures at no-kill shelters are similar to those at a county humane society or a local animal rescue facility. For a list of no-kill animal shelters state by state in the United States, visit the website nokillNetwork.org.
Reputable breeders. Anyone looking to adopt a specific breed of dog or cat might decide to visit a reputable breeder. The American Kennel Club has a list of dog breeders available on its website. For cat lovers, the Cat Fanciers' Association Inc. has a referral search page on its website for anyone looking for a specific cat breed. Attending reputable dog or cat shows and speaking with local breeders is another way to find your ideal dog or cat purebred.
PetFinder.com. PetFinder.com is a pet search site that can help you find an animal companion. As a visitor to the site, simply select the type of animal, the breed and your location. Animals available for adoption through county humane societies, rescue centers and animal shelters will be listed to match your criteria.
Local newspaper. Your local newspaper may list dogs and cats available from area residents. These may include puppies, kittens and/or animals that have been found and need good homes.