If you are considering adopting a pet, you need to ask yourself some important questions.
Why do you want a pet?
Do you want a dog or a cat?
Do you want a puppy/kitten or an adult?
Do you prefer a male or female?
What breed are you considering?
Will the pet you are considering fit into your lifestyle?
Will you provide the basic care your pet will need for its entire life?
Will you be able to meet your pet's medical needs?
Will you train your pet in basic good manners?
As a companion for yourself? For your children? For protection? If you're interested in a dog, do you wish to engage in specific activities such as obedience trials or flyball?
There are ups and downs to each species--not to mention personal preference! FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) exist online that describe the characteristics, medical problems, and activity levels of many, many breeds of dogs and cats, and these are a good starting point for you if you're undecided about what pet would suit you best.
Baby animals, like baby humans, are delightfully engaging, but it's hard to predict what they will be like as adults, and they require enormous amounts of time and energy. Will you have the time and patience to teach your pet where the appropriate potty area is and the other things it will need to know?
An older pet is a known quantity--what you see is what you get. You know its size and can see what its personality is. It may be a better option for you, but it, too, will need some patience while you teach it your rules. It may also have some "baggage" from its previous home.
This is largely a matter of personal preference. Generally, males will be larger than females of the same breed, but often the differences between genders are fairly subtle.
What are the basic characteristics of the species and/or breed you are considering? Will it grow to be large or will it stay small? Is it long-haired or short-haired? Active or quiet? Examine the FAQs for dogs and cats to find the answers to these questions. Please take the time to research the pet you have in mind--that research will be worth every moment you spend on it because the pet who ends up sharing your life will fit in.
Do young children live in the household? Are you active or a couch potato? Do you spend a lot of time away from home? There will probably be a suitable pet for you, regardless of your lifestyle--will you be willing to wait for the right one even if it takes a while?
Will you be able to provide food, water and shelter? Will you spend time playing, exercising, and just being with your pet? Will you be able to find the time to groom your pet, both for its comfort and to keep shedding to a minimum?
You may need to teach your cat to use a litter box--fortunately, they're usually quick to catch on! You'll want to have a litter box for each cat in your household and at least one box on every floor, and find time to scoop it daily. Cats are fastidious creatures and prefer to have a clean toilet area.
Will you make sure your pet has regular annual examinations and vaccinations? Will you also be able to handle whatever medical problems and other expenses are inherent to the pet you've selected? Are you prepared to spay or neuter your pet? SADSAC requires that the companion dog or cat adopted from us be spayed or neutered--the importance of this can't be overemphasized. Not only will it ensure that your pet doesn't add to the huge pet overpopulation problem, but it will be a healthier, happier pet!
Training takes time but is well worth the investment. There are many good training classes to which you may take your dog, as well as professionals who will work with you one-on-one; and there are excellent books, too, for both dogs and cats. Additionally, behavior problems are less likely to occur in an animal that has received basic training.
There are few wrong answers to these questions, but they do need to be answered honestly--the pet you choose to share your life must fit in with that life or neither you nor the animal will be happy. All rescue groups want to be as sure as possible that the pet they place is a good "match" with its new home. Too often, rescued pets are animals with unhappy pasts--they deserve a bright future!