Clear the Shelters is coming August 18 and it's the perfect time to adopt your first pet

By Kelli Bender
July 26, 2018 05:29 PM

It’s summer, which means animal rescues and shelters are more crowded than ever with kittens, puppies and plenty of other animals looking for homes.

This is a great time to adopt a pet, and with Clear the Shelters approaching on Aug. 18, it’s better than ever. Clear the Shelters is a nationwide adoption initiative supported by NBC Universal and Telemundo stations across the country. Each year, these stations partner with hundreds of animal rescues and shelters to offer pet adoptions for waived or reduced fees.

Before taking part in this event, though, it’s important to do two things: Check to see which rescues and shelters in your area are taking part in CTS, and prepare your home and family for the arrival of a new pet.

To help with the latter, we talked to PEOPLE Pet Vet Dr. Evan Antin about what you and your family should prepare and know before going to the shelter to adopt a pet.

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. 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. 

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!