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What to Know Before Adopting a Pet

Fuzz Therapy | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian

Fuzz Therapy | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian

Thousands of animals are adopted each year from animal shelters and imperfect living situations. Before deciding to add a pet to your family, there are a few important pieces of information that you should consider.  

Animal neglect 

Many animals that wind up in shelters are victims of neglect and physical abuse from previous owners. Animals who end up in shelters may have been beaten, starved, or even tossed out on the street by their owners to fend for themselves. 

Physical abuse may lead to your new pet needing some extra love and attention in order to better help them adjust to their new environment. In the same vein, animals who are adopted from shelters may also be in need of some space as they become comfortable with life outside of the shelter.  

Always let the animal set the pace for the transition into their new life within your family. The process of rehoming an animal takes patience and tenderness.  

Pets and children 

Depending on the temperament and history of your new pet, the shelter may not recommend bringing home a shelter animal if other pets and young children are present in the home. This is because animals who come from abusive backgrounds or have been abandoned may have aggressive tendencies around other animals as a fight or flight response. 

This may be especially true for animals that had to fight for their food and safety in their previous home or on the street. In order to protect the shelter animal and other existing pets, mixing their lives may not be recommended. 

Small children do not always understand that you cannot pull on a puppy’s ears or a cat’s tail; therefore, many shelters also do not recommend adopting one of their pets if small children also live in the home in order to protect the child from the animal’s natural instincts.  

Medical needs 

Many shelter animals suffer from a wide variety of illnesses or injuries that led to them being placed in the shelter.  

Some animals are surrendered because the original owner could not afford expensive medical treatments for their pet. Others may have been physically abused by an owner or have suffered injuries roaming the streets that cause them to need extra support.  

The medical and emotional needs of a shelter animal are much greater both in time and cost than many other pets and must be kept in mind when adopting.


Kaitlyn Chrosniak

News Reporter