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Finding a Friend "Fur" Life

Author: Dr. Karen Van Kirk, DVM

Picture this...your eyes meet across a crowded room...your heart skips a beat and you know that you have fallen in love forever. Is this scenario a description of your first meeting with your significant other? No, it's the first time you laid eyes on your new pet! Choosing a pet is often an emotional experience but there are some things to keep in mind that might help you make a successful choice.

First, consider how much time and effort you want to put into training your new pet. Puppies and kittens are adorable but they do require some extra time in training and housebreaking. If selecting a puppy or kitten, look for the ones that come to greet you with enthusiasm. This will make training easier and may indicate a willingness to please and openness to learning new skills. Remember to look for a bright, shiny, well-kept hair coat, and bright eyes, clear of any discharge and nice clear nostrils. Puppies and kittens can be obtained from private owners, shelters and even rescue organizations. Be sure to research the characteristics of different breeds so you can make a good choice for your family's lifestyle. Websites such as www.akc.org can help guide you on the features of various dog breeds. 

For those who may have less time to devote to training or housebreaking, the adoption of a young adult, middle aged or even an older pet may be the best option. Animal shelters and rescues have many pets that are looking for a second chance for a loving home. Many of these animals have been brought up to date on their veterinary care by the shelter or rescue. As with adopting puppies or kittens, be sure to look for a healthy coat, bright eyes and a friendly nature. When looking to re-home an adult pet, remember to do your research and find out why the animal is up for adoption in the first place.  Although it’s possible to work through many behavior issues, understand they take time and effort on your part. Also, every time an animal is returned to the rescue or shelter it makes it that much more difficult for the pet to be re-homed again. With a little effort you can make the best choice for a lasting, lifelong, loving relationship for your family, yourself and your pet.

 

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