Pet adoption 101: The ultimate Guide to getting approved

Pet adoption 101: The ultimate Guide to getting approved

Why Choose Adoption?

Apart from the many stats pointing to the negligence of pet ownership across North America, choosing to adopt is a great decision, one that could potentially save a life! To put this into perspective, in 2019 625 000 pets were euthanized in animal rescues across the United States. Even with no-kill shelters picking up traction in many parts of the world, this number reflects one of the greatest tragedies taking place within the pet industry. 

Not to mention, while staff tries, the shelter environment is not one that emulates a very strong sense of home, and the animals know that!

Apart from the fact that you would be giving an animal a second chance at life, there are countless health benefits that come from adopting a pet. Owning a dog for instance, has been said to lower cortisol levels, the main hormone responsible for stress, which can be the difference between staying clean and a relapse in recovering addicts. Adopting an animal has many unmatched emotional health benefits, many of which are attributed to helping those struggling with mental health problems.


What You Need to Know Before Adopting

Person cuddling a cat

Pets are a lifelong commitment 

You will be responsible for their quality of life, level of training and socialization in this world as well as to ensure they are the healthiest and happiest they can possibly be. For many people this is an easy commitment to make because choosing to love a pet is one of the best and most rewarding experiences you can make!


Owning a pet is not cheap!

Part of owning a pet is understanding that there are costs associated with it. Many of these expenses are unexpected and thus being prepared for the financial situations that may arise is important. On average, experts approximate that with routine veterinary care, insurance and high quality pet food a person should expect to spend anywhere from $35,000-$42,000 over the course of 12 years for a dog and 15 years for a cat!


You will want to consider investing in microchipping your pet

Many pets that actually end up in shelters are lost companions that were never found. This sad reality is the result of many pet owners not choosing to invest in identification methods! Microchipping is the only way for your furry family member to ALWAYS be found! It is on the most expensive scale however, the accumulated benefits far outweigh that argument. 

Bonding may not happen right away

Many pets that come from shelters have been abused in some way and harbour negative behaviours that can make the initial moments at home difficult. Understanding that trust is built not bought is an important concept to grasp and while it may not be a simple process, you will have found a friend in life once that trust can be rebuilt. 


How to Adopt a Pet: What Steps Do You Need to Take?

kid laying on the ground and is laughing as a puppy licks his face

Decide On An Age

Individuals content living life in the slow lane would be a great fit for a senior pet because “they’re personalities are already developed and they just want to relax with you” (Walker, Reader's Digest, 2020). Older pets also have a much lower adoption rate in shelters so you can feel proud knowing you have potentially saved a life!


Do your research

Its time to decide between the many shelters and rescues in your area. If you live in or close by a bigger city, the local humane society is a good place to start. Attending adoption events in your area is also a great idea to get to know each rescue group better, as well as understand what breed would be best suited to your family!

Find a Shelter Near You

Finding a shelter is one of the final steps in your journey to adopting your new four legged friend. A simple google search of “pet adoption near me” should be enough to narrow down a list of places you can check out nearby! For our BC friends, check out PetFinder for dog adoption in Vancouver, and Vokra for cat adoption in Vancouver. 

Fill out the Application

Whether you are adopting a pet in Vancouver or through an Alberta animal rescue, you will likely be required to undergo an application process. It is important to remember that filling out the application doesn’t necessarily guarantee the adoption. Keep in mind, decisions are not personal and rescues have an obligation to keep the best interests of the pet in mind. 


The Struggle to Adopt A Dog In 2021

person is teaching a dog a new trick

Why is it so hard to adopt?

It is important to understand that many pets that end up in the care of shelters have been subject to unfortunate and in many cases, tragic circumstances. Abuse and maltreatment are two of the biggest reasons for seizures across North America. These dogs come to shelters with an extensive list of behavioural issues that are often times a reflection of their past. With that being said, adoptions tend to be more difficult due to the increased level of special care that these pets require. 

Common reasons for your application to be rejected

While disheartening for new potential owners, each candidate is thoroughly reviewed in order to ensure that the perfect match is made. While the reasoning may seem invalid and minor, these reasons tend to be much bigger issues than a person may realize at the moment.

Your occupation/lifestyle 

How much time you spend at home typically has a very large impact on the emotional health of your pets and it is a very big factor for shelters when considering an application. While working full time is not a complete deterrent, working extensively away from home can greatly strain the 1:1 time, including time needed for walks, that many rescue dogs require to adapt and cope with change.

Your environment

Rescues will do their best to ensure that pets do not relapse into a similar environment from which they were rescued from. Where your pet grows up is a significant factor when deciding on the outcome of any application. Adoption agencies want to ensure that security remains a number one priority and hence proper fencing is usually something they will look for! 

Renters or people in short-term leases typically have a harder time adopting a pet, because of the uncertainty that comes with knowing whether or not the next landlord will accept pets! 


Other members of the household

Who you live with can also have a great effect on the outcome of your adoption application.

This may seem silly at the time, but is crucial when placing a pet. For instance, many rescue dogs, having come from backgrounds of abuse, are not suitable pets to be living with smaller children. Similar is the case if your home has other pets. Some dogs should not be placed in a home with other dogs or cats, simply being that their past has caused them to develop negative behaviours.

Consider joining a foster program

a dog is being cuddled and kissed while wearing a sweater at a dog shelter

There are a lot of shelter dogs and cats and kittens everywhere looking for foster homes! Fostering a dog, or a pet in general, is a great way to do your part without the total commitment of deciding to adopt. If this is something you are considering, there a few things worth mentioning in regards to how to be a good dog foster parent.

  1. You will need to prepare your home. Bringing any new animal into your life requires some aspect of change. In regards to working with shelters, they will likely have a couple of requirements that must be met before bring your foster pets home.
  2. You're gonna get attached! For a while that pet will be a part of your family in every way, but like all adoption processes, eventually a day will come and you will have to say goodbye.
  3. You may get preferential treatment when it comes to adopting! Rescues tend to be more lenient when adopting out dogs to current foster parents, especially if said person has been in foster care for many years.

All in all, adopting a pet is one of the most rewarding things you can do. So choose to adopt and save a life!


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