Is it Right for You? Adopting a pet from a shelter can be a very rewarding experience. My family and I have adopted two cats from a shelter and are in the process of adopting a dog. There are just a few things to keep in mind to ensure that it is a positive experience. First, it is very important to examine your lifestyle and determine if you really do have the time that a pet requires. You must make a time commitment to them. Pets, dogs in particular, crave social interaction with their owners. If you can't pay attention to them, they tend to start exhibiting destructive behaviors, like chewing on things they aren't supposed to or excessive barking because they are lonely. If you make the determination that you do have the necessary time, it is important to decide what type of pet will work the best for you. If you do not desire to go for walks and play in the yard (or if you don't have a yard) then a cat might be the best option for you. They are fairly independent and do not require the same level of attention that a dog would. They like to be petted- at their leisure, of course- and require fairly minimal care. You must change their cat boxes and keep them fed and watered daily. If you really want more interaction with your pet, then you should choose a dog. They are always happy to see you when you arrive home and they love to be petted and play in the yard. You will always have a willing walking/jogging partner in a dog. If you decide upon a dog, you must decide what breedsyou are interested in. If you don't have a preference, you need to decide what size dog you would like and is compatible with your home. You do NOT want to make a spur of the moment decision while you are at the shelter, only to regret it later. Choose a pet and then go home and research the breed. Find out if it tends to bark a lot, what it's average lifespan is, if it is good with children, what it's in-born traits are (does it "herd", does it guard, does it like everyone) etc. Choosing a dog that is right for you is essential in making a choice. If you choose a breed that is not a good fit for you and your life, you will ultimately be unhappy and might be tempted to return it to the shelter. It is best to know what you want when you start the process. We have two cats that we have adopted from a shelter. The shelter spays/neuters them, micro-chips them and gets them up-to-date on their shots. Therefore, when you pick your new pet up, it is ready to go. Our cats, Toby and Jake, are wonderful. The experience at the shelter was such a good one, because the people at "Pet Refuge" truly love the pets that are there and want to find them wonderful homes. Because we had such a good experience adopting our cats, we are currently adopting a dog. I followed all of the advice that I listed in this article. We researched and took our time, not wanting to make a poor decision. We found a dog that we all agreed on and took our current dog in to meet her. Unfortunately, they did not get along. But the good thing is that we found out before we adopted. I would highly recommend, if you currently have a dog, taking it in to meet the prospective "new family addition". We had chosen an Australian Shepherd and they have a natural inclination to "herd". Our current dog, a White Shepherd, did not appreciate being herded. So, we were back to square one in picking out a pet. We did find the perfect fit for us... a 9-month old yellow lab. So far it has worked out wonderfully. He gets along with our current dog and will blend into our family perfectly. We can't wait to pick him up tonight. If our previous experience with adopting pets was any indicator, we are sure to have a great experience!