These days, there are so many pet choices that it can be difficult to decide on adopting just one animal or to choose one type of animal over the other. You can get the urge to get them all when looking for a pet and we know why!
When looking for an animal addition to the family, it is too easy to get lost in a puppy’s cute eyes or be wrapped around a kitten’s swishy tail. You got to have a heart of steel to not want to cuddle up with a lovable animal – BUT WAIT. Adopting a pet is not just about finding the cutest or the cuddliest, it is all about finding the perfect pet match.
Yes! It is all about that amazing perfect match y’all!
Just like how things go in dating and finding a mate, finding your perfect match (in a pet) is not that easy as well but is certainly doable. All you have to do is set aside some time to think about what you should consider before adopting and work with that so you can find the perfect match for you.
Before we move on to the steps to finding your perfect match, please take a moment to read and review the previous parts of the Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption Series, specifically the one on What You Should Consider Before Adopting. This part won’t be complete without first reading that installment of the series and you’ll soon understand why.
Basically speaking, the first tip to finding your perfect match is to never ever get a pet or an animal on a whim. Why not?
Because there are just too many things to consider to ensure that the animal will be your perfect match such as:
- Activity Level
- Life goals
- Existing Pets
- Family members
- Life Expectancy
All of the above makes it a bit tricky to find your perfect match when looking for an animal or a new pet so we’ve also compiled a list of tried and tested tips which we gathered from our numerous interviews and correspondences with the animal and pet adoption experts – the folks at shelters and rescues!
So here they are: homeoanimal’s tips to find your perfect match:
Perfect Match Tip #1 - Rescue Volunteers and Shelter Staff Are Your Friends!
We cannot stress this enough. You see, no one knows the animals you want to adopt better than the people who have taken them in and took care of them. Looks can be deceiving, especially in a shelter where some animals and pets may not be on their best or friendliest behavior because of a ton of factors.
If you have volunteered at a shelter or did some fostering for an animal rescue, you know that some animals can be shy around people or may have a bit of stranger anxiety although they can be the cuddliest and most loving creature during one-on-one interactions.
Darlene, from Happy Endings No Kill Cat Shelter shared with us, “Be open minded when visiting the cat in the shelter. They are very territorial creatures and often cats need to be only children. The cat in the shelter is most likely not the cat you see at home. You have to look beyond the cage. Many cats don't show well in a shelter environment. They don't know why they are there, they don't necessarily like the other cats and their world has been turned upside down. When the cat goes home and has a safe place of its own it will blossom.
It is important to find the right match for your home. You may come in to see a specific cat you have seen online, but that doesn't mean it is a good match for your home. Shelter staff should have a good idea of the cat's personality and be able to guide you to the cats that would fit in with the family dynamic, activity level in the home, etc.”
This is why being friends with shelter staff and rescue volunteers is so important, because they have access to information you do not. They also know the animals more than you ever will ever do with just meet and greets so go ahead and get the scoop on which animals are best for you from your friendly shelter staff and animal rescue volunteers. After all, they are the pet and animal adoption experts and it won’t hurt to listen to them as Dorothea Boughdadly of Hoofs and Woofs Animal Rescue advises.
Perfect Match Tip #2 - Date Around or Meet and Greet A Lot
It helps to treat finding your perfect animal match just like as you might approach dating. You can’t always expect to find love at first sight and sometimes the first date can be perfect and then you find out that you are wholly incompatible with the pet on the next date.
The trick to finding your perfect match is to join meet and greets, interact with animals that you like, and really try to visit or see the animal on numerous occasions and different times of the day before committing to adoption. Just like with finding your perfect love mate, some animals can be lovable and cute near feeding time or at some specific times of the day and be the craziest in the morning (you get the idea!)
Even when you’ve done your research on a specific breeds or type of animal, some animals may not fit the stereotype of the breed. Just like people, animals have different personalities, temperaments and what-not and we have experts from Mastiff Ranch and Rescue, Pennsylvania Great Dane and Recue, Loving Fosters K9 Rescue, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, SPCA of North Brevard, and Shelter Showcase all say so.
Meeting a few pets or animals before considering adoption is also a great way to prevent yourself from giving in to ‘adoption infatuation’ – that’s when you adopt on impulse just because you like how the animal looks. It would be great when you just click with an animal upon meeting it but the process is really like meeting someone on a blind date, just like Janis Worley of One of a Kind Pets describes. We will talk more about this on the next part of The Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption Series – the indepth Meet and Greet guide.
Perfect Match Tip #3 - Get a Second Opinion
So you think you found the best possible match for you, huh? That’s great! However, it might help to ask someone who will be objective about how great you and the animal are together. Think of it as getting a second opinion.
This particularly helps when you like two or three pets and cannot really decide on which one to adopt. Sometimes, friends and strangers might be able to see or point out things which you are not able to see (like the pet obviously shying away from you as you forcefully give it a hug haha!).
Perfect Match Tip #4 - Meet the Family
If you are like most people, it will not always be just you and the animal living together. You most likely have other pets or family members to consider and they need to be a part of the adoption process too.
If you have other pets, that can be a huge problem if the new pet and your existing one have clashing personalities. You may have heard of horror stories from people who have well behaved animals and then as soon as they adopt or take a new one home, all kinds of nastiness breaks loose.
Keep in mind that just like people, pets and animals have feelings and different needs and in order for your household to be as peaceful and loving as you want it to be, all pets and animals should be able to live with you in harmony.
Speaking of people, keep in mind that no matter how cuddly an animal is, you cannot make your family members love it if they don’t like that kind of animal. If you have someone who is allergic to cats or don’t like dogs, of course you cannot expect them to be happy when you adopt a cat or a dog. Make your human family members a part of the meet and greet and we can guarantee that finding your perfect match will be a lot better.
Sure, there are natural and homeopathic remedies to make a pet or animal behave better (we can even make custom-made remedies for problems like anxiety, depression, and aggression), but still, it is totally unfair for both the new pet and other members of your existing family to be forced to live together when it is obvious that they won’t jive to begin with.
Perfect Match Tip #5 - Expect a Little Work
Oh yes, no matter how perfect you think the new pet or animal is, you will most likely need to put in some effort to make your lives as blissful as possible.
Don’t place the possibility of adopting a certain animal aside just because it is not yet potty-trained or litter-trained or just because it is not as affectionate as you would want it to be. Some things do take time and a little patience, plus, some problems like being a dominant male, having a bit of pet hair-loss, having some unruly-looking coat, bedwetting, having food allergies, and having parasites and worms can be easily remedied these days. Don’t let simple things like that to stop you from adopting a great animal.
Perfect Match Tip #6 - Know When It Is Better to Let Go
Just like you should know that the best animal-human relationships need a little work, you should also learn to recognize when it is simply time to let go for both your and the animal’s sake.
Adopting a pet can be very stressful for you, the animal, and other members of your household so there can really be times when a pet you have adopted may need to be returned to the shelter or rescue.
Do not feel bad when returning a pet as long as you do it in good faith. Shelter staff and rescue volunteers knows and understand how important it is to find your perfect match and will do their best to help you find it.
It is true that a shelter’s and an animal rescue’s goal is to have as many pets as possible given to good homes and sometimes, letting go is a part of that.
If for some reason a pet or an animal cannot adjust well to living with you, it can be better for both you and the animal to have it returned. This way you can give another animal who is more suited to you a better life. As Linda of K9BFF Rescue says, “A good rescue will 'match' the adopter to the dog with interviews and questions that will provide a way of 'some predictive responses' from an adopter but rescues are not perfect and dogs can behave differently under different circumstances. A good rescue will take back a dog to insure it is safely rehomed.”
The same goes for the returned pet. That animal also deserves the best possible match and although it may be heartbreaking to accept that the pet’s perfect match is not you, knowing when to let go will ensure that both you and the animal will have a better life.
Have you adopted from a shelter or a rescue before or volunteered/ worked in one? Perhaps you have some extra tips to share? Do let us know on the comment box below or interact with fellow pet and animal lovers at our Facebook page. Aside from getting the latest scoop on animal news via FB, you can also sign-up for newsletters to ensure you’ll not miss the next articles in the series. Oh, and please share the word about this article so we can help deserving animals in shelters and rescues be adopted by loving people like you! Til next time!