People sometimes think that pets are kind of blank slates; that any pet that looks good to them is right for them. And it’s certainly true that pets are good at adapting to new homes. But they do have personalities of their own, and this is the most important thing to consider when making a choice. Here are six things that are more – and less – important to think about before you adopt a pet.
Age is not as important as you might think
Many people are fixated on getting a puppy or a kitten. Granted, they are adorable. But they are a work in progress, so it can be hard to be sure what you are getting. Be open to adopting an adult pet! They may already be trained in many ways and what you see is likely what you get.
Size isn’t always a big deal
This is not to say that size is inconsequential. But what matters much more is how big the pet thinks they are. There are Chihuahuas that act like Mastiffs and vice versa. Don’t assume that, because you know a big dog who is great with kids, all big dogs are great with kids. Or need a lot of roaming room. Or any other trait that seems logical, but may not correspond to the actual pet you are considering.
Looks aren’t everything
Just like people, some pets just don’t come across in a photograph. Others take great pictures, but are different from what the photograph seemed to indicate when you meet them. We all tend to make assumptions based on looks – sometimes incorrectly. Check out if the pet is attentive or curious or aloof or energetic or laid-back. These are the qualities that will make a difference in how successfully they will mesh with your lifestyle and household.
Personality trumps breed
If you are adopting a pet to be a pet (rather than, say, a hunting companion,) you should focus less on a certain breed and more on personality traits. Personality, likes, and dislikes vary widely even among animals of the same breed. Learning about specific breeds’ common personality traits can help narrow your search, but in the final analysis, you’ll find a better fit for yourself by focusing on the individual personality of the pet that is there in front of you.
Make a list
It helps to write down the things you expect to do with your pet. For example, if you want a dog to participate in your extremely active, outdoor lifestyle, a dog that is fearful in new environments and has a lower activity level is unlikely to be a good choice. Likewise, if you know you like to spend most of your time relaxing, a high energy and active dog, even if they look right or fit your idea of the proper breed, probably wouldn’t be a good fit either.
An adoption resource like Getyourpet.com gives you access to an animal’s personality information before setting up a meeting. When you contact the pet’s Guardian, ask all the questions you want to determine if this pet’s personality matches your lifestyle. At the meet-up, you’ll see the pet acting naturally in a low-stress environment, and how they interact with everyone in your family.
Be open to the possibilities
You just might find that the love you were looking for comes in a package you weren’t expecting!
About the Author: Angela Marcus is the founder of Get Your Pet and a life-long animal advocate who wanted to find a solution to the challenges that exist in the animal sheltering system. By empowering both pet guardians and adopters, GetYourPet.com allows pets to go from one good home to another.