Q1. Is there any purebreed up for adoption?

A. According to Found Animals, 25% of the pets in shelters around the U.S. are purebred dogs and cats. And, of course, don’t rule out the existence of specific breed rescues as they are widespread and very reputable. For example, if you wanted a Golden Retriever you could easily find a Golden Retriever rescue group in the nearest big city as these types of shelters/rescues are abundant in numbers — even toy breed rescues.

Q2. Will the adoption fees be expensive?

A. This one may be a bit subjective, but you must remember all that the animal shelter/rescue has done for the pet — they spent the time and money necessary to obtain him, house him, feed him, medicate him, spay/neuter him and properly vet him otherwise. The adoption fees in Malaysia's pet shelters only start from RM50. Most rescues and shelters give heartworm tests, flea preventatives, plus Rabies/Bordetella/Distemper vaccinations. That’s over RM500 right there. You'd be hard-pressed to find a dog or cat from a breeder or pet store for anywhere near that price (plus, the reward that you are saving a life).

Q3. Does shelter pets usually have behavioral problems or are imperfect?

A. People think there is something wrong with the animals, i.e. the mentality of, 'they wouldn’t be in a shelter if there wasn’t something wrong with them.' Most of what comes into the shelters are wonderful family pets. Some dogs, yes, have training and behavioral issues because the first human owner didn’t properly work with them, but it’s rare. Even from a breeder – you aren’t going to get a “perfect” pet and that every pet needs to be trained and properly vetted.

Q4. Are shelter pets unhealthy?

A. Wrong. The vet bills may be lower than you’ve ever seen them. Shelters make sure each dog gets a thorough health screening which includes all their vaccinations, heartworm tests, rabies shots, etc. And lot of shelters will even microchip the pup! Plus, the many mixed breed pups found in shelters are often healthier and live longer than purebreds. Your fat wallet is gonna be heavy from saving all that cash.

Q5. Will I get to know what pet I'm getting?

A. There may in fact be more information available about an adoptable pet than one from a breeder or pet store. Many of the pets posted on Petfinder are in foster care. Foster parents live with their charges 24-7 and can often tell you, in detail, about the pet’s personality and habits. If the pet is at a shelter, the staff or volunteers may be able to tell you what he or she is like. At the very least, you can ask the staff if the pet was an owner surrender (rather than a stray) and, if so, what the former owner said about him or her. Quite often pets are given up because the owner faced financial or housing issues (more on that later). You can also ask about the health and behavioral evaluations the pet has undergone since arriving at the shelter. In contrast, pet store owners rarely have an idea of what a pet will be like in a home.

Q6. Can anyone adopt an animal from a pet shelter?

A. Because it can be devastating to the animal when adoptions don’t work out, most pet shelters work in the animal and the adopter’s best interest in determining the best possible match. The potential adopter’s age, home situation, and other factors (including pet deposit for renters, and fenced yard) are considered before an adoption is approved. Most pet shelters encourage the entire family, particularly if there are young children, to be a part of the adoption process.

Q7. What do you mean by “no-kill”?

A. “No-kill” has many components, but in a nutshell it means the particular organisation will never euthanize as a method of population control in the shelter. Instead, they use other methods. For example, they try to reduce owner surrendered animals by assisting with community programs like low cost spay/neuter and low income food assistance; They are proactive with their adoptions, going to events, advertising their animals in several formats to reach a wide audience, and keeping their shelter clean and friendly and their animals healthy; This helps keep their shelter population down, and gives many animals a better chance at finding a new family.
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