When did you adopt your pet from AARF?: November Pet’s AARF Name: Angel Pet’s New Name (if you changed it): Mista How is your adopted pet doing? Tell us about them and how they fit into your family.: Mista is doing great, she is a very loving kitty who has grown close to the whole family. She loves playing with the toy mice on the stairs.
By Maggie B.
Most of my time spent writing about animals is telling you reasons why you should adopt an animal, but sometimes, we also need to remember the situations in which it is better NOT to get a pet. Below I have written about some situations you might find yourself in where it is a better choice not to get the pet, or at least, consider the situation heavily before you do get the pet. And the reason I am writing about it is because these are the people who wind up surrendering their animals back to the shelters, which takes away valuable time it could have spent looking for its true forever home (especially when people adopt tiny puppies and surrender them as grown dogs!). Not all animal surrenders are made by people who hate animals and had malicious intent–sometimes, you find yourself in an unpredictable, unavoidable situation, and we understand this, but sometimes, of course, the entire situation could have been avoided with a little forethought. So take a look if you are considering getting a pet; it is a huge decision and definitely not one that should be made lightly!
1. If you are allergic to animals, do not adopt one. You might be able to deal with itchy, watery eyes once in a while, but when it’s a day-in, day-out, 24/7 for the rest of the dog’s life thing, it will be unbearable, no matter how much you love animals. Stick to living vicariously through a friend’s dog, and get a fish.
2. If you live with a roommate that you do not intend to live with forever, do not adopt a dog together. You might think that in this situation, people parting ways would both want the dog, but unfortunately what happens more often than not is that neither person wants the dog and had counted on the other person to take it. If you live with a roommate and definitely want a dog, make sure you have a definite plan for which one will take the dog if your living situation changes.
3. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, heavily consider how a new dog will fit in with a new baby. If you think you might feel like the dog will threaten the baby in any way, do not get one.
4. For that matter, if you think you might have kids at any point during this dog’s lifetime, really think about what dog you are getting. If the dog is not good with kids, you might think that since you don’t have kids right now, it will be okay. But if you are planning on having kids 10 years from now, what could likely happen is that you will wind up surrendering a senior dog. Dogs that are not kid-friendly are best for people who do not have kids and never plan on it, or whose kids are already grown (and who do not have grandkids, either!).
5. If you are in any kind of sketchy situation financially, it is not a good time to adopt a dog. First of all, dogs are not free to feed. But secondly, even if you can afford to feed it, are you going to be able to afford emergency medical care in the case of an accident? Unfortunately, dogs are much more likely to be in life-threatening accidents than people are. Are you financially able to see to it that your dog is not in pain, and what’s more, to see to it that your animal does not get the death sentence from a simple broken leg because your financial situation forces you to pick euthanasia over routine medical care? And even if you choose to provide medical care for your animal, is that choice going to force your family to do without things they need? If so, it is not a good time to adopt a dog. The first clue is always the adoption fee. If you feel like you cannot afford the adoption fee, unfortunately, you probably cannot afford to have the dog.
6. If you are planning on moving at any point during the dog’s lifetime, are you prepared to find a home that will allow your pet to come with you? The NUMBER ONE reason we hear for people surrendering their animals is that they are moving and cannot take the animal along.
7. And on that note, before you adopt an animal, you must be certain that your landlord allows animals! (This is why we always ask for their phone number). We cannot tell you how many times we have heard, “Well, technically animals aren’t allowed, but the landlord won’t care.” Well, even if he doesn’t care right now, he could, at any point, decide to care, and if your lease says that you are not allowed to have animals, he is well within his legal rights to force you to either give up your pet or give up your home. This is not a choice you want to have to make.
8. If you are ill or elderly, or both, you will want to heavily consider whether or not adopting an animal is the right choice for you. We understand that if you are sick, you might find comfort in having a pet. Just make sure that if the time comes that you are unable to care for your pet, you have already made other arrangements for it, such as by ensuring that a friend or family member will take on the responsibility of caring for your pet (for the rest of its life). It is heartbreaking for an elderly or sick person to have to surrender their animal to a shelter, not because they don’t love the dog, but because they cannot take care of it any longer, but no one in their family will step up to do it either (And yes, it happens more than you would think).
9. Pets should never be gifts, unless the pet is for your child, AND you will personally be the one who is responsible for the pet. Now, this is not to say that you cannot pay the adoption fee for someone as a gift; however, whoever is getting the animal absolutely needs to be the one to pick it out and pick it up! Choosing an animal to care for for its entire life is a personal choice that should only be made by the person who will keep the pet. If you pick out someone else’s pet, what if you pick one they would not have picked personally? And, pets should NEVER EVER be a surprise! If you are planning on surprising someone with a pet, what if they did not want one?! Don’t do it. Finally, even if the pet is a gift for your child, avoid it as a holiday present. Why? Because it is easy to get in the spirit of giving during the holidays, and while this in and of itself is noble and good, it also means that you might make hasty purchases that were ultimately unnecessary, and those gifts wind up being returned. This is fine if it’s a sweater, not fine if it’s an animal. That said, we love for our pets to go home for the holidays, and we are certainly not saying that you shouldn’t adopt just because it’s the holiday season. But just make sure that this decision is made carefully, with plenty of time and thought put into it. (As a matter of fact, this should always be the case, no matter what time of year it is!).
10. Finally, do not adopt a pet just because you feel sorry for it. It’s a very sweet sentiment, but ultimately the wrong decision if you do not really, really want the pet. Unless you are truly prepared to care for the pet for the rest of its life, it is better to leave it for someone else. You do not want to make a decision you will soon regret just because the animal tugged on your heartstrings. If the animal is in a no-kill shelter, it will find someone. If the animal is in a kill-shelter, you might want to consider fostering it until it can find a permanent home. Also consider donating to or volunteering for an animal shelter if you really want to help out but are not fully prepared to adopt. Now, of course, if you feel sorry for the animal, but you also think you will feel a connection and love for it and absolutely want to care for it for the rest of its life, then go right ahead! Go you! But don’t make a hasty decision–because those wind up being bad decisions.
When did you adopt your pet from AARF?: October 13, 20013 Pet’s AARF Name: Violet Pet’s New Name (if you changed it): Violet How is your adopted pet doing? Tell us about them and how they fit into your family.: We are coming up on our one-month anniversary since we adopted Violet. Our family was finally ready to adopt a dog and found Violoet at AARF and fell in love instantly. She was exaclty the type of dog we always wanted. Since Violet has joined our family, she has been doing magnificent! She is such a sweet, kind and gentle dog and is quite simply the best dog in the universe, as far as we are concerned! Violet is enjoying many long walks in the woods, snuggling with our family, playing fetch, meeting all of our friends and otherwise having a fabulous time as our new family member. We adore her. As for AARF, the staff should be commended for their compassion, dedication and hard work. They made sure Violet was a good fit for our family and took very good care of her until we came along. Every step of the adoption process was wonderful. I whole-heartedly recommend AARF and am grateful that they do the work they do to save these animals. In just this short time with Violet, we can’t imagine how we were a complete family without her! Our hearts are filled with joy. I wish many “happy tails” to those reading this.
When did you adopt your pet from AARF?: 1 1/2 years ago & about a month ago Pet’s AARF Name: Bianca Boots & Frankie B. Pet’s New Name (if you changed it): Janel & Fred How is your adopted pet doing? Tell us about them and how they fit into your family.: Hi AARF…I want to thank you very much for my two litlte fur babies Frankie B. (previously known as Fred) and Bianca Boots (previously known as Janel.) I adopted Bianca over a year & half ago, and it was love at first sight. I will never forget the first day I went to pick her up in Bedminister, NJ. The moment I saw her I wrapped her up in her blanket and started bolting for the car…the guys at PETS laughed and reminded me I needed to take her paperwork with me, but I was so excited to finally have her and give her a loving home. We spent an entire year together just the two of us and have traveled quite a bit as well. A few months back we moved into our first home and I wanted to give her some time to get used to her new digs but she did great…it was then that I decided it was time to introduce another bundle into our little family. I immediately thought of AARF and started searching the site…that’s when I saw Frankie B. (previously known as Fred.) His scruffy little face and eyebrows stole my heart…so I showed his picture to Bianca and he got her instant approval as well. (she licked the screen…lol) I will admit I was a little nervous because I worried Bianca would not take to Frankie…but boy did I worry for no reason. The moment they met they sniffed each other a bit and then went straight into full play mode….which is a mode they’ve never really left. From the moment they wake up the two of them are running and jumping all over the house…sometimes I have to open the patio door and let them outside so I can clean up all the toys they’ve scattered across my living room. Which to think about it doesn’t really make sense because the moment they come in the toys are scattered all over the place. Words can not express how greatful I am to have these two little ones in my life….thank you for all that you do!!
When did you adopt your pet from AARF?: May 31, 2013 Pet’s AARF Name: Lexi Pet’s New Name (if you changed it): Did not change How is your adopted pet doing? Tell us about them and how they fit into your family.: Lexi is the sweetest dog our family could have asked for. Her and my five year old play and have so much fun. They have truly become best friends over the summer! Lexi loves to cuddle and is always looking for hugs and kisses! Thank you for the wonderful joy you have given us!
Ellen adopted Serenity at the end of August, 2013. “Serenity is a blessing. She stole our hearts the minute her paws landed in NJ. She was very quiet at first but has melded into our family so quickly. She doesn’t like when we have to go to work, but enjoys all the attention, walks, car rides and play time she gets. We could not imagine our lives without this super sweet girl!! She is everything her foster mom said she was and so much more. We love her so much.”
Jane & Bob adopted Tonya March 29, 2013. Tonya’s new name is Magnolia. “Magnolia (the dog f/n/a Tonya) came into our lives on Good Friday, March 29, 2013. I cannot begin to tell you all what a blessing she is. I knew I wanted a rescue and for months I was looking and thought I had found the perfect dog at least 7 times. However, every single time I had my heart set on each of them, something happened and thankfully, the dogs were adopted. But I was so disappointed. I would tell my husband each time that we lost the perfect dog for us. He kept saying we’ll find one, don’t worry. One day, I stumbled upon the A.A.R.F. website. I looked through the dogs for adoption and there I saw a picture of Magnolia’s face. I said that’s the one, I just knew it. I printed out all her information and brought it home. My husband said if you think this is the one, I’m happy. I filled out the paperwork and was out of state at a wedding when I got the call that we were approved for her adoption While I was waiting for her, her foster Mom Anna sent me videos which made the time go even faster. I think it was divine intervention that I picked her up on Good Friday. As soon as she was placed in my arms, she knew she was home. What a difference in our lives! She has literally become the Honorary Mayor of our Town. Everyone knows Magnolia. She has so many rescue friends in the neighborhood that we see when we go on our daily long walks. Even her vet wants to adopt her and I have even brought her to my law office. This little bundle of energy has changed our lives so much and everyday I ask God everyday to protect and take care of all animals in foster care and shelters that they will get furever homes. We are one lucky couple and are so happy. Thank you A.A.R.F and all foster parents. You will never know how grateful we are.”
Michele adopted Otto on September 8, 2012. Michelle says “I went into Petco to get ear medicine for my pug and left with another pug! Otto stole my heart from the beginning. We’ve been a family for almost a year now and it’s been a transition – shortly after adoption, Otto had to to have surgery to correct his breathing and he still has some issues with certain things like many rescues do. However, he is happy and healthy and so, so, so loved. People that do what AARF does are angels on Earth and I am so grateful that AARF brought my sweet little nugget into my life! He has made so much progress in the past ten months and I couldn’t be more proud to be his Momma! :-)”