October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and in light of the event, puppy Kermit, 4-year-old dog Rosie and Rena Lafaille, administrative manager of the ASPCA adoption center, joined Salon’s Alli Joseph on “Salon Talks.”
Lafaille offered some important tips on things to consider before adopting a pet from a shelter.
“Talking to your entire family, or talking to whoever lives with you in the household,” she said, is the first step. But perhaps the most pressing question is: “Are you ready to take on basically this lifetime commitment — anywhere from a year to 20 years — of taking care of this living thing?”
The next step is to consider your lifestyle, Lafaille said. “Do you have a more active lifestyle, where you like to go out and hike, you’re more outdoorsy?” she continued. “Or are you more of an indoor person? Do you like hanging out on the couch more, watching sports or Hulu or Netflix, whatever it may be?”
An important aspect to think about when evaluating the “lifetime commitment,” Lafaille mentioned, is “how much you’re going to actually invest in this dog or cat, because they do require usually annual check-ups.”
The last thing is if you have children, to make sure the animal is compatible with young ones.
It may sound like a lot, but Lafaille says it’s important to not make an error when it comes to adopting an animal. The ASPCA estimates 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year in the U.S., and adopting a shelter dog actually means saving two lives: the dog you take home and the dog that can then occupy the space that opens up.