Guide to Responsible Pet Adoption

Please consider the following before welcoming a companion into your family:
Will you be a responsible pet guardian? A responsible pet guardian:
  1. Provides companions with permanent ID such as a microchip and tattoo and appropriate licensing.
  2. Ensures their pet has access to lifetime, regular veterinary care, food, water, shelter, love, exercise, training, grooming, and nail care.
  3. Abides by city/region bylaws regarding your pet (licensing, picking up after their dog etc.).
What are your living arrangements?
Do you own your home or are you renting? Moving frequently can be stressful for companions. If you are renting does your landlord allow pets? Is the space large enough for the pet and breed that you want? Do you have a fenced backyard?
What is your lifestyle?
Are you active and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping? Do you work late or go out after work? Ensure that the type of animal or breed that you are seeking matches what you like to do.

Time: Do you have time for a new family member?
Different pets require a different amount of devotion time. Depending on the pet, and even the breed, how much time you have to dedicate to walking, training, exercising, and mental stimulation for your furry or feathered friend will vary.

Time: Is it the right time for you to adopt a companion?
Are you planning a move? Going back to school or work? Pregnant? Will other commitments or major changes in your life affect the introduction of a pet into your home? Then maybe it is not the right time.

Can you afford the costs? 
Are you able to afford the costs of pet care? The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association reports that the average annual cost for dogs is $3,724 and the average for cats is $2,542 – and these numbers do not include the one-time costs such as adoption fee, spaying, microchipping, and unforeseen large vet bills.
What is the average lifespan of the animal you'd like to adopt?
Are you prepared to commit to your pet for its lifetime? Most cats and dogs have a lifespan of 15 years. Thinking about a parrot? They can live up to 80 years and they may potentially outlive you – who will take care of your parrot in this case?

Who will be responsible?
Trying to teach responsibility to your children? It’s important to understand that a family pet is a family decision and children will not take on all of the duties involving your newest family member, even though they will be enthusiastic at first!
Can you handle the pet you hope to welcome into your home? 
Dogs can pull four times their body weight and ultra-large breed dogs can overpower even the strongest person or animal. If your ultra-large dog got into a fight or attacked a person or pet, it would be difficult or impossible to pull them off. Do you have the knowledge and skill to provide the needed socialization and training your pet needs so they do not become a nuisance or a danger to others?
Adopting a pet
It’s important to ask all of these types of questions so that you bring home a pet that’s best suited for all of the considerations above! If you believe you’ve found the companion for you, make sure to meet the current caregiver in the place where the pet has been living. You’ll want to see your potential companion’s living conditions before agreeing to take them home. If the person who has put the pet up for adoption isn’t willing to meet with you in the pet’s natural living conditions, we recommend waiting for someone who will be comfortable introducing their pets to you in this manner.
Welcoming a furry or feathered friend into the family is extremely rewarding, and should never be a quick decision. When you adopt a pet, think of it as gaining a new, lifelong family member. We hope these tips give you plenty to think about as you start your decision-making process, and a positive journey as you look to extend your family.
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