With the holidays upon us once again, some families may be considering the addition of a new pet. When it comes to adopting pets, there are many options. People have different reasons for adopting a pet, and this reason often influences where they look for their new family companion. For some people whether the animal is a purebred or not is important, so they will pursue breeders. Others are interested in saving an animal from the fate of a life without a loving family, and they will typically search animal rescue organizations or animal shelters. Both purebred and mixed breed animals can be found at these organizations as well as older animals and animals that need special care. This guide will help you explore your options when considering the adoption of a new family pet.
Choosing a Breeder
You’ve decided that it’s time for your family to have a brand new pet. Everyone is ready to play with it, feed it, clean it, and care for it every day. You know that you want a purebred, you’ve researched the genetic and behavioral disposition of every breed, and you know the breed that’s best for your family and your lifestyle. The final step is to find a good breeder.
First, avoid pet stores. It is a known fact that most pets that are offered in pet stores come from mass breeding facilities more commonly known as “puppy farms” or “pet farms.” This is not a business practice that you want to support. It is best to do the ethical thing and avoid them at all cost.
There are several methods you can use to evaluate breeders. Initially, obtain a list of referrals of reputable breeders from your veterinarian or local dog shows. Always visit the place where the breeder raises the dogs or cats, and bring the following checklist in order to determine whether the breeder is a good one.
Does the breeder:
- Raise the animals in a home, as part of a family?
- Have animals that appear healthy and excited when visitors arrive?
- Maintain a clean area where the animals are raised?
- Show you the animals parents when you visit?
- Exhibit knowledge about the breed?
- Produce records of veterinary visits for the animals?
- Provide references?
- Offer guidance for caring for your new pet and for the particular breed?
An even better option than buying a new animal from a breeder, is to invest in saving a purebred living at a purebred rescue group. Purebred breeding groups are wonderful organizations that accept purebred animals that are typically abandoned, found as strays, or from local animal shelters. Purebred rescue organizations typically have a great deal of knowledge about the breed they work with and usually offer a great deal of guidance for adoptive families.
When you purchase a purebred from a rescue group, you can feel good about having saved an animal from living a life without a loving family. You can find local rescue groups in your area through the newspaper classified section. A great resource for rescuing purebred dogs is to search through the contact list at the American Kennel Club. Another great resource for both cats and dogs is AllAboutDogsandCats.com, which provides a list of hundreds of national breed rescue clubs and organizations.
An animal shelter is the best source where you can find a family pet. Family shelters are home to many wonderful animals who mostly are there because of the humans who previously owned them, not for any fault of their own. Often life changes, unrealistic expectations, or other reasons force families to give up their animals to animal shelters. Half of these animals end up euthanized because there simply isn’t enough space. This is why obtaining your family pet from an animal shelter is the greatest thing you can do, and it is something you can feel very good about.
It is a common misconception that the animals at animal shelters are all mixed-breeds, poorly behaved, or poorly kept. While this may hold true for a minority of them, many of the animals found at shelters around the country are actually purebreds, nicely kept, and very well behaved. Many shelters even offer adoption counseling, training classes, and even discounted or free neutering. Some great resources to locate animal shelters around the country include Pets 911, 1-800-Save-A-Pet, or Petfinder. Another good resource is the classified section of your local newspaper, or the yellow pages under “Animal Shelters”.
A Pet Portrait of Your New Pet
Once you discover that special pet that will become your friend for life, there is no better way to celebrate than to commemorate the beauty and overwhelming “cuteness” of your new family friend with a painted pet portrait. Pet portraits are also a wonderful gift to give someone special this holiday season.
Pet portraits are sweeping the country as a very popular form of recognizing how much your animal friend means to you and your family. Pet portraits can be especially meaningful. When you see a pet portrait on the wall, it is a statement that this animal is not just “another animal”, but rather a loved and cherished member of the family.