Have you ever considered adopting an abandoned animal as a pet?

Because there are still many irresponsible pet owners, every year there are abandoned, lost (and never found), and newborn animals that either end up in animal shelters or on your doorstep. Many of these animals make extraordinary pets.

I have been taking in and caring for abandoned cats since 1994. I have taken on those that needed to be bottle fed and those who were young kittens already eating on their own. I've also had some sick kittens that have needed extra special care, including a couple the professionals thought might not be "worth it". I've done this on my own by taking in stray or unwanted animals and I've done this for an animal shelter. This is a wonderful thing to be able to do, but when the pet is stable and sociable, it needs a home.

Most people who do this are affiliated with an animal shelter through which they can locate a good home for the animal. The shelter should do a thorough job of screening the prospective adopter to match the pets special characteristics, personality and needs with the potential new home. Frequently if you adopt a kitten or puppy from an animal shelter, it has been fostered first. Fostered kittens and puppies, especially those that were bottle fed, make amazing pets. The bonding that occurs with these babies is very unusual. It's a little bit like they think they're human, but even more like they think you're one of their species. The resulting loyalty and affection you (the human) receive from these pets is astonishing. Ella is my most recent example. Read her story.

Even older pets adopted from a shelter make special pets. It's almost as though (do I dare say it) they know you've saved their life. The most important thing for you to do before you take on another pet is to consider your own circumstances. It is heartbreaking for an animal to be returned to a shelter because "they didn't work out". It's just as heartbreaking to have an animal live in a household that doesn't really have time to accommodate it's needs. As I mentioned before, most shelters will do a thorough job of screening prospective adopters, but you should consider first. Once you start to meet the animals you'll begin to fall in love. Don't let that happen until you've established some guidelines for yourself so you don't commit to something too difficult or extraordinary.

Try to figure out how much space and what type of housing you have for a pet. Do you have a large enough yard for a dog? Most shelters seldom have small dogs available for adoption. Large dogs need lots of exercise and space. Do you have a room where a litter box won't be awkward. They are messy. If you live near a busy street, your pet must be kept secure and out of danger of the road. Can you accommodate that situation? And every bit as important, do you have time to spend every day with the new pet. Pets require love and attention as well as food and water. If you don't have enough time at home for the family now, you probably won't have enough time for a new pet. There are other considerations as well, but the point is, think it through before you look. It's very hard to take a step back when you meet them. You'll find they all deserve a loving home.

Contact rescue organizations or shelters to discuss more about adoption or email us.

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If you can spare a little extra space for one more small bed and feed one more little tummy, find a nearby animal shelter and adopt a new companion. They need you.