There's something so special about adopting a brand-new pet. Expanding your family to include a furry friend is exciting but not something that should be taken lightly. Because it's a big life change that requires a lot of planning, we checked in with Jill Rappaport, author, animal advocate, and all-around animal-lover, for tips on how to make the adoption process as seamless as possible. As someone who has rescued countless animals, she's an expert on what to do before, during, and after the adoption process so you and your new pet can have a long, happy life together. "[Rescuing a pet is] the most incredible thing you can do and the best gift you can give yourself, but you have to be devoted," Jill said, and we agree. Keep reading to find out her tips for what to do next time you're in the market for a new fur baby.
Know your lifestyle
This can include a variety of things, but Jill said the main thing to consider before rescuing a pet is to really take into consideration what kind of animal fits into your life. By not doing your homework, you risk adopting a pet that just doesn't quite work out for you that ends up needing to be returned to the shelter. "It's very, very sad, and they go through a lot emotionally, which makes it harder to get them adopted a second time," Jill said.
Research the shelter
Jill said that any respectable and reputable shelter will be asking you the tough questions before they'll let you take an animal home with you. The shelter wants what is best for you and that animal, so the people there should be doing everything they can to ensure the best match.
Research the breed you're interested in
There's nothing wrong with having your heart set on a certain breed. In fact, it's good if you do and if you know everything there is to know about that breed so you can be best prepared to give the animal a good life.
Schedule a home visit
This is something the shelter should request of you, so don't be surprised by it. A shelter may also ask for vet references for your pet ownership history. This all just ensures that the animal will be taken care of.
Foster the animal first
"The animals are really not themselves until they get into a home," Jill said, which is why it's a great idea to foster the animal for 10 days to two weeks. This will give you both a sense of what your real lives together will look like.
Know that you will be able to find what you want
Jill and I both agreed that so many people seem to think it's impossible to rescue a purebred dog from a shelter. It's fine to want a purebred dog, but just know that there's a good chance you will be able to rescue one. "I have five rescue dogs right now, and every single one of them is purebred," Jill said. She wasn't necessarily looking for those dogs (she lets the animals find her), but that's what she ended up with. "Whatever you want, it's out there waiting for you in a cage, in a shelter, somewhere," she said.