April 30 is national Adopt a Shelter Pet day — the perfect time to adopt your first pet

By Kelli Bender
Updated April 30, 2021 10:05 AM
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Happy National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day! If you've been thinking about adding a rescue pet to your family, today could be a perfect time, especially as animal rescues and shelters begin to fill up ahead of summertime with kittens, puppies and plenty of other animals looking for homes.

Before jumping into the process, though, it's important to prepare your home and family for the arrival of a new pet.

To help, we talked to veterinarian Dr. Evan Antin about what you and your family should prepare and know before going to the shelter to adopt an animal.

Take a look at his advice below.

What questions should you ask at the shelter to find the perfect pet for you? 

There’s no perfect question because everyone is different and has different needs in a pet. You need to ask questions that reflect your lifestyle and what you can offer your future pet. For instance, if you live in an apartment and have no outdoor space, perhaps a cat would be a great option for you.

How can you help prepare other pets for the arrival of a new pet? 

One way to help prepare a pre-existing pet is to designate a room or space in your home that’s intended for the new pet for a temporary period and keep the pre-existing pet out of there. When bringing home new pets slow, gradual introductions are ideal to form healthy relationships. A new pet needs a “safe space” too.

What can a new pet parent expect during the adoption process? 

Meeting adoptable animals one-on-one in an enclosed space, watching adoptable animals interact with other animals in the shelter to see how social they are, an interview to determine if you’re a good candidate to adopt a pet, some paperwork and a small fee. (Note: Some shelters may have different rules about visiting in-person right now due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.)

What are some good ways to know if a pet is right for you?

It’s all about finding the right pet for YOU. Everyone has different lifestyles and space and time so you need to find a pet that accommodates to that.

I want a puppy, but don’t know if I am ready for the commitment. Should I adopt one? 

Probably not. You definitely need to be ready. Some vets with children claim that raising their puppy was more time-demanding than raising their children. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but you will need to make a significant time commitment.

What are some of the perks of pet adoption? 

Not only are you rescuing a pet in need, this animal will appreciate YOU for giving them shelter for the rest of their lives! It’s a beautiful thing and my dog Henry and my cat Willy show me their appreciation every single day and I reciprocate my love for them every single day too!