Where to go to find your perfect pet
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
I’ve been thinking about adopting another pet recently. I already have a cat, but with the prospect of moving soon, I’m scared she might get lonely without the companionship of the other animals in my current household. Pico, my cat, is also the reason I’ve decided on getting a small dog. Because she grew up with friendly dogs, she actually prefers them to other cats. The size of the dog doesn’t really matter, beyond the fact I’ll be moving into an apartment, so a small dog would probably be a lot happier than a larger one that might feel closed-in or restricted. With that in mind, personal preference leans me more towards a Pomeranian, because omg fluffy!—but whether it’s a purebred or not doesn’t really matter.
With all this in mind I set out on my search to find a dog that would suit both mine and Pico’s needs. What I found is that adopting any sort of animal is a lot harder than I expected. Not because there’s not a lot available—there is—but actually finding them is an issue. I know for sure that I don’t want to just buy a dog from a breeder, in part because it’s expensive, but also because I don’t want to inadvertently support a puppy mill, which is a very real possibility when looking at toy breed dogs. I also, morally, don’t like the idea of buying when adoption is an option for a dog that really needs a loving home—and believe me, the home would be loving. Between myself, my family, and my boyfriend, we’re all huge animal lovers.
The go-to would seem to be the SPCA, but unfortunately their website is hardly ever updated; you can’t filter animals by anything but general species and location, and the details provided about the animals are pretty vague. For instance, the dog profiles will say whether or not they can be adopted by families with small children, but it won’t say anything about if the dog will get along with other animals. Hence my quest to find a friend for me and Pico was halted.
Another option I considered was to talk to a vet. Generally, vets know which local rescue societies can cater to what you’re looking for, and they’re always willing to provide you with information regarding animal adoption. After all, most people that get into the veterinary science are animal lovers too. Many vet offices will also have animals on location from local rescue societies that are adoptable, but they usually tend to be cats. I especially encourage this option if you’re less inclined to adopt, and are looking to buy a puppy. Vets know which breeders are reputable, and can point you in the right direction. However, in terms of adoption, though vets can provide you with a list of local rescue societies, you’ll then still have to go to the society themselves—either through their website or to a physical location—to see what animals are available and if they’re a good fit for you. This can be time consuming.
The last option I’ve explored is Pet Finder. Pet Finder is kind of like a craigslist for animal adoption. People or organizations will create profiles for animals they have up for adoption and you can browse these to find the perfect pet for you. They also offer an extensive range of filters to make your searching easier. Stuff like “small breed” and “dog,” can now also be accompanied by “cat-friendly” and “house-trained”—which puts them a few steps above the SPCA. The last benefit is the in-depth write-ups available for each animal. Because these profiles are created by people in personal contact with the animal, they can go into great detail regarding personality, temperament, and history. Though many of these profiles request an in-person meeting with the animal beforehand (you should be doing that anyway), these profiles do give you a good idea of how these animals may fit into your life, and what complications may arise.