Before You Adopt

Thank you for making the life saving decision to adopt a homeless animal! Adopting a companion animal is most likely a 10 – 15 year commitment. Before making the decision to adopt a companion animal, think about your reasons for wanting a pet and how she will fit into your life. The following considerations can help you choose a pet that will be a good fit with your family and lifestyle.

Consider your lifestyle

  • How settled is your life? Are you expecting major lifestyle changes over the next several months or years? Many pets live for years—a pet that fits into your life today needs to fit in for the foreseeable future.
  • Do you or other household members have allergies to pets?
  • Do you want your pet to be a part of an active lifestyle, more of a couch potato or somewhere in between?
  • Can you afford a pet? The costs of owning a pet can be high.  Licenses, spaying and neutering, veterinary care, grooming, toys, food, litter and other expenses add up quickly.

Determine how much time you have to spend with a pet

  • Do you have much free time now?
  • How much time do you have every day to take care of a pet (feeding, grooming, exercising, training and socializing)?
  • Is someone at home on a regular basis to give the animal lots of attention and love?

Evaluate your living situation
All pets need to live indoors and be part of the family. Think about your living situation:

  • Is your home appropriate for your new pet?
  • Are there any restrictions around having pets in your home, e.g., landlord permission, pet deposits, condo restrictions, etc.?
  • Do you have enough space for the type of pet you are thinking about?
  • All pets make some kind of mess. Will your pet be given free range of your entire home or just certain areas? If the pet will be restricted to a certain area, how happy would a pet be in this space?

Learn about breed and gender
The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter receives both purebred and mixed breed pets. It’s important to learn about breed and gender characteristics before you adopt:

  • Every animal is an individual and understanding the behaviors of your chosen pet is most important.  Some, but not all, behaviors and characteristics can be determined by his breed.
  • In some purebreds, over-breeding has led to temperament and/or genetic problems. If you are considering a purebred animal, take some time to learn about any potential issues or concerns.  Breed-specific rescue sites are usually the most helpful.
  • If you are considering a mixed breed, investigate each breed in the combination.
  • After an animal is spayed or neutered, there are few behavioral differences between males and females.