Owning a pet is a great honour, let’s be honest. They fill our lives with joy and love, and for many pet owners, the wonderful presence of their company has never been as appreciated as it has over the past couple of months.
But if you’re one of the many people who’ve been considering adopting a pet as a result of the lockdown, it’s important to consider every angle to make sure it’s the right decision for both you, and your potential new pet.
Adopting a pet (rescue or otherwise) is a big responsibility, one that requires a lot of thought, decision-making and some all-important research beforehand. If you’re thinking about adopting a rescue, here are some things to consider...
Is now the right time?
Cat, dog, rescue or not – if you’re thinking of adopting, you need to be sure it’s the right time for you and your family to welcome a new addition into the home.
A pet of any kind is for life, and adopting an animal means you’ll be committing to care for and love them for the rest of their years. It's important to remember that at some point, life, as we know it, will eventually return to normal. When that happens, you’ll still need to be able to dedicate lots of time, love, care and attention to your new pet, so try to consider how your life will look post-COVID, too.
What kind of pet is right for you and your family?
If you’re confident that now is the perfect time to expand your family in the form of a furry friend, and they’ll fit perfectly into your ‘regular’ life too, then great! It’s time to consider which type of pet is best suited to you and your family’s lifestyle.
You’ll still need to think about things such as your work/life balance and how often you’ll be away. Your activity levels, your current level of experience in caring for pets, if you have any children or other pets to consider. You’ll also need to think about your potential pet’s background, too – for example, Buddy, the energetic former farm dog, might not do so well in a one-bed, inner-city apartment.
Most rescue pets will have had a previous life, so it’s important to remember they may need some extra care and attention to help them adapt to their new environment. The staff at the rescue shelter will be able to help identify your needs and advise on the best pet for you.
But, it might take time to find your perfect pet
In the excitement of adopting a pet, it can be all too easy to get swept up in the moment and ‘impulse adopt’ a pet that might not be best suited to you.
For a successful adoption (for both you and your pet) it’s best to take it slow. Do your research and work with the rescue shelter staff to find the pet that’s perfect for you. It might take several visits, and a little bit more time, but that’s ok – it’s worth spending the time now to get a match that’s best in the long run.
Consider the costs
From the adoption fees to food, toys and vet bills, it’s true that owning a pet can be expensive.
The daily, ongoing costs that you can expect will include food, bedding, blankets, toys, and grooming. Another cost that will need to be considered is veterinary bills.
When it comes to a trip to the vet, pet insurance is a must, but it’s worth keeping in mind that most won’t cover certain pre-existing conditions. So, be prepared for the costs of regular check-ups and treatments, as well as any unexpected vet bills (which can be very costly) should your pet require any emergency care.
It may take time for your new pet to settle in
While adopting a rescue can bring a lot of love and happiness into your home, it will take some time for your pet to settle in. If you have young children at home, it might be best to introduce them slowly and calmly, once your pet is a bit more settled. If you have other pets, such as another dog, try to introduce them gradually and in a safe ‘neutral’ space like your local park.
In a new environment with lots of new noises, smells, and places to explore, it’s expected that they will need a bit of time to adjust. Every pet is different, but do be prepared that it could take anywhere up to three months for your new pet to feel fully at home.
Rosie Jones, Head of Rehoming at Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, added: ‘Welcoming a new pet into your home should be an enjoyable experience; you should feel supported in finding the best possible match for your home, lifestyle and experience. Animal rehoming centres like Raystede are here to help you.
Adopting a pet can take a little extra time and patience compared to buying, but the rewards are worth it. When animals arrive at Raystede, we get to know them through behaviour and medical assessments. We carefully use this information alongside your application to see if the match could be a success. Adopting is a big decision; we are here to support you during and after the adoption process. For more information about adopting through Raystede or to apply today, please visit www.raystede.org.’