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1)  Ask yourself "Why do I want a pet?"  Make sure you know exactly why you want to open your heart and home.  Adopting is not about instant gratification.  Adopting is for life.

2)  Analyze your lifestyle.  It's important to find a pet that fits into your daily routine.  Be honest with yourself.  It's a matter of fitting the right pet with where you are today.

3)  Write a Wish List.  Identify the top traits that are most important to you in a pet.  Make sure the traits work with your lifestyle.

4)  Research.  Do your homework on the breed or pet before you adopt.  Become an expert in the breed or animal.

5)  Make sure everyone in the family wants a pet.  If everyone isn't supportive of adopting a pet, start over.  Do this before you visit animals to help keep emotions in check.

6)  Search.  Check shelter and rescue websites.  Research the shelter and rescues to make sure they are legitimate.  Understand their adoption policies.  What training resources or referrals do they offer?  Do they take animals back if you are unable to keep them?

7)  Ask questions, Ask for advice.  Talk to the staff or volunteers.  Ask them to help match pets that would fit your lifestyle (see #2).  Ask them to tell you everything they know about an animal you're interested in.

8)  Don't worry about paperwork or home checks.  These are a way for rescues to make sure the pet is a good match.  They are not judging you.  Be honest and open.

9)  Don't fall in love with a face.  Adopt a soul - not a look.  Temperament and compatibility with you are top priorities.  A cute face is a plus!

10)  Be patient.  More and more animals enter shelters and rescues every day.  You'll find the right pet without rushing it.

11)  Set the stage for success.  Create rules and routines from the beginning.  Consult with a vet on health care.  Training for puppies/dogs helps with bonding and gives your dog a "job."


Adoption Tips (from article in "Ready, Set, Rescue")

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