Laird adds that the situation is a little different for parents who want to bring home pets for their children because the parents usually end up being the main caregivers. However, when children are part of the adoption and decision-making process, they are more likely to feel a greater sense of responsibility for their pets and take a more active role in their care.
To select the right dog or cat, many factors need to be taken into consideration.
“Caring for a dog or cat is more than simply providing food and water; it requires a lot of time and hard work. The benefits of having a pet are enormous, but it’s not a situation that can be entered into lightly. You have to be prepared to care for it long-term, and the average life span of an indoor dog is six to 13 years. For an indoor cat, it’s 15 to 20 years,” explained Laird.
Another major point to keep in mind is the age of the pet. For instance, kittens and puppies generally have more energy and need to play more often than adults. If the person adopting does not have enough time or energy to commit to playtime, then that person may prefer a more mature cat or dog.
In addition, size, breed and grooming habits should be factored in to the decision. For example, some dog and cat breeds require more grooming or exercise than others; some are better with children than others; and some are more adaptable to change. Before adopting, people should think about their family’s lifestyle and make sure the pet is a good fit.
To learn more about cat breeds Laird recommends the Cat Fanciers’ Association at www.cfa.org. To learn more about dogs, she suggests “Harper’s Illustrated Handbook of Dogs,” which among other things, includes a long list of kid-friendly breeds that are separated by size.
“Most of the cats and dogs we see at the shelter are mixed breeds, but if you know that the cat is Maine Coon mix or the dog is a Labrador mix, then it will most likely be a friendly pet that’s good with children and adults,” noted Laird. “Understanding the differences in breeds will help you pick out the right pet, but it’s just a starting point. Each pet is an individual that may or may not act like other members of its breed. That’s one of the reasons we recommend the main caregiver get to know the pet before adopting.”
Founded in 1976, Operation Kindness is the oldest and largest no-kill shelter in North Texas. Its mission is to care for homeless cats and dogs in a no-kill environment until each is adopted into responsible homes and to advocate humane values and behavior. Operation Kindness has saved nearly 70,000 animals since its inception. Operation Kindness cares for an average of 200-250 animals on a day-to-day basis, with another 60-80 animals in foster homes. More than 3,000 dogs and cats are assisted by Operation Kindness each year. Learn more about Operation Kindness at http://www.operationkindness.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/