Adopting Pets

Simone Halpin and Jane Oh, Editors

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Adopting A Pet

By Jane Oh and Simone Halpin


       Adopting a pet is a decision that many people make, and it improves their lives in many ways. More than half of America’s households have a pet, and most of them consider their pets as members of their family. Studies have shown that people who have pets statistically live longer, stay healthier, and get more exercise  and experience less depression. Introducing a companion into your life can completely change your life, and give you the little extra happiness you need every day.


       Preparing your house and family members for a pet is important. Without a well-equipped home, having a pet can be more of a struggle. You want to make sure that everyone agrees with the idea and that some basic clear rules are set out, especially if you have family members disagreeing about adoption. The environment  of your home should be welcoming and pleasant for everyone included.

    • Interview your family
      • Find out what is needed to care for an animal (examples, more house space, a solution to traveling, disagreeing parents)
      • Once you find out the key problems, fix them. For example, if someone has an allergy problem, you can look into adopting a reptile or a hypoallergenic breed. If the problem is due to travel, you can look into animals that can be left alone frequently or find a pet caretaker/hotel.
    • Display your responsibility
      • Help with/do house chores
      • Keep up with work
      • Bottom line: Prove you can take care of a pet.
  • Offer to help pay for the adoption or any extra needs
    • Food, supplies, etc.
  • Present your ideas in a clear, honest way
    • Practice how you are going to introduce the idea, ensuring that the way you ask is not bossy or misleading. Do not act vague, unclearly, and don’t over exaggerate the positives over the negatives. Present everything honestly with facts and then bring in your opinions later for discussion.
    • Do not end up constantly begging for a pet, as this might have the opposite effect and the thought of adoption may become negative. You always want to associate positive things or feelings with the adoption process.
    • Using something like a PowerPoint can show you have spent a lot of time into thinking about adoption.


Do not worry if things don’t go right, spend some time to look everything over and try again!



       From a perspective, owning a pet can seem easy and fun. Going over to your neighbors or friend’s house and seeing pets can seem effortless, but there are many tasks you don’t always see happening. Walking, cleaning, and expenses are all factors that can come in. Make sure that you have enough time, money, and commitment. You should be willing to take care of your animal and repeat the same tasks for many years.


       Once you have enough information and have a clear idea as to what pet to care for, going in person to an adoption center is the next step in the adoption process. There are different types of shelters, and depending on your community they may be large, small, no-kill policy, etc. Ask more experienced adopters about their experience and recommendations. You can come up with a couple places and visit each one to see a variety of animals. When going to an adoption center, it is best to bring other members of your household who will also live with the pet, a record of other pets in your household, and some photos of your home for a reference. Ask many questions, as workers at the center will be happy to help you in your adoption process. Adopting a pet is a big choice to make in your life, and you want to be sure everything is running smoothly. The last thing you want is to bring a pet back to a shelter, which will lower the chances of the pet being adopted again.  

       If you get the opportunity to interact with an animal, take the chance. Keep in mind that you will be living with this pet for years in the future, and you will need to invest a lot of time, energy, and love for them. When meeting a possible future pet, approach the animal carefully, and as you become more comfortable with each other, see what he/she is like. Are they playful or comfortable? Are they friendly or alert?

       Typically, adopting from a local animal shelter is easier. Pet shelters take strays that have come from an unhealthy past, looking for a forever home. The adoption process at shelters is less costly and better for the environment/community. Adopting from breeding shelters that can hurt the animals is harmful, as well as adopting online, from puppy mills, or breeding shelters, which are all unsafe. Make sure you ask many questions and if anything looks shifty or unclear, clarify it. A shelter near here is Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA Adoption Center. This is a great place to adopt animals of all kinds, in a local and safe community.

       Spending the time to take care of another pet can influence you to become more responsible and caring. The simple little actions, whether that be giving a treat or going on a walk, is more than enough to connect you with your companion. Introducing a pet into your life will ensure memorable moments to carry on forever.



Ms. Amar, dog– Ms. Amar adopted a stray dog from Guatemala. Her pet dog struggled from a traumatic past of being a stray. By adopting her, Ms. Amar felt that she was saving her, and giving her a chance to live a better life. Ms. Amar’s advice for adoption, is to know the history of the animal’s past, such as if it needs special care or has any triggers. Ms. Amar says “pets make people happy” and that “they will love you unconditionally.”


Ms. Aldapa, 2 dogs- Ms. Aldapa adopted a dog from the Burlingame SPCA, and another from Pound Puppy Rescue. She says that having dogs improved her life, and helped her become more physically active. Ms. Aldapa advises one to ensure they have enough time and willingness to take care of a pet, before adopting. She also says to do everything you can to be prepared, as adoption is an important choice. Her two dogs are “so loving and fun” and improved her life in different ways.

Mr. Ekel, classroom snake- Mr. Ekel says bringing a classroom snake changed the environment for students, improving student’s behavior and grades. Adopting a pet snake made Mr. Ekel, as well as the students, happier. He says it is important to be prepared is also to be as prepared as you can. Ensuring that everyone involved is happy with a pet and that no factors such as allergies, traveling, etc. gets in the way, creates a better environment for adoption.


Credit links:

infographic: why pets make us happier

Are pet owners happier?

SPCA photo source

Pet supplies photo source

girl and cat photo source