As any animal lover will attest to, a great gift to give is a rescue pet! A rescue puppy or cat is a wonderful and exciting addition to the family. Even though you may want it to be a surprise for the household, it’s best to prepare for the new member. Besides dog beds, cat trees, and other pet accoutrements, it will help to follow these steps to ensure a smooth transition and that you’re providing a forever home for the right pet.
- Make sure the person or family is on board! Just like proposing, you should have a clear idea what the answer is before you present a ring, or a Saint Bernard. Giving a pet as a gift is a commitment which can last 10 to 15 years. Ask the person first, not everyone has the time or interest. The surprise can be when it happens, not that it is happening.
- Do some research! Think about which breed fits best with your home, family, and especially other pets. Do you need a fenced yard or a dog door installed? Are the neighboring pets friendly? Do you need to get a pet permit with your friendly HOA? Be sure that no members of your household have an allergy to pet dandruff. It’s important to delve for these answers, so that you won’t have to make the difficult and guilt-ridden choice of returning a pet to the shelter.
- Ask questions. While you take your tour of the shelter, be sure to ask, Why is the dog or cat there? Do they have any medical or behavioral issues? Do they get along with other animals? What are the necessary qualifications for adoption? Most shelters will ask for a donation, which may include the cost of vaccinations, spay, or neuter. Some will also require that you prove your home is suitable for a pet. Think about whatever questions you have beforehand, and try not to get too sidetracked by all the cuteness while at the shelter.
- In order to make a thorough decision, visit the shelter a few times, not just once. We know it’s easy to fall in love, but don’t make an impulsive decision. Adopting a rescue pet is a commitment which can last 10 to 15 years. Ask everyone in your family first if they are onboard, not everyone has the time or interest.You want to be able to provide a forever home for your new pet.
- If you have other pets at home, know their temperament around other animals. Does your dog get along with others at the park? Does your cat cuddle up to your dog? If you aren’t sure, do some test runs to feel out how they may take to an addition to the household. Consider bringing them to the shelter for a meet and greet with their potential new sibling. It’s not necessary, though, as this could be construed the wrong way for your poor friend. However, if the animal you want is your pet’s choice as well, you’re set to expand your family!
- Once you’ve made your choice and you know it’s the right one, set up a first appointment with your local veterinarian. You’ll want to make certain that you’re starting out right when it comes to your new pet’s health.
- Lastly, go shopping! You can buy the necessities for the first surprise bundle of joy, then share the joy with them in picking out accessories for Fido or Fluffy.
Of course, all of these steps are fun to do! Just remember a new pet requires a great deal of attention and the holiday season can be very busy with decorating, cooking, trips to visit family and friends, guests coming and going, and so on. While it’s tempting to give your gift on the holiday, we actually recommend waiting until things have settled down a bit which will also be less stressful for the new addition.
So if you are unsure whether a surprise would be better, you can do this entire list with the family, and the surprise being that the process is beginning now! Then, check out the following facilities: Camano Animal Shelter, the NOAH Center, Everett Animal Shelter, Humane Society Arlington, Rompin Paws Rescue, Purrfect Pals Cat Sanctuary and Adoption Center. Pop in for a visit, fall in love, and delight in picking out a name together! We can’t wait to meet the new member of the family, as well. Happy Holidays to All!