Have you decided that you are ready to start looking for a pet to adopt? I found myself in that situation in March 2009, and I'll share a few tips with you about the process.
I spent about two weeks looking online for dogs that were available for adoption in the Phoenix area. I also visited one of the shelters personally.
My Tips for Pet Adoption in Phoenix
- Finding just the right new member of the family can be a process. Research breeds to determine which bests suits your situation. For instance, we knew we wanted a short-haired dog that doesn't shed too much because I have allergies. We knew we didn't want a big dog. We didn't want a senior dog or one with special needs. There were certain breeds that we wanted to stay away from because of temperament.
- If you are looking for a purebred dog, you might want to locate a breed club in the area or a shelter that fosters specific breeds. I found listings for Beagles, Australian Shepherds, Basset Hounds, Anatolian Shepherds, Corgis, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Labrador Retrievers and more.
- I started at Petfinder.com. It is a great resource, but I found that every time I emailed an organization that operated with foster homes, the pet had already been adopted. Your experience may be different in that respect. Also, because Petfinder.com has so many dogs, I wished there was a way that I could filter the ones I had already seen. At the time of this writing that wasn't a feature of the site.
- I looked at Craig's List several times. If you are willing to drive around town to find just the right dog or cat, and you aren't concerned about going to people's homes, that might work for you. Remember that you might not get a clear picture of the dog's health situation from the current owner, or they might not be forthcoming with problems that the dog might have.
- I was fine adopting a mutt, so I began concentrating on the Arizona Humane Society adoptions. The Arizona Humane Society is good at keeping their website up to date. As you might expect, the cuter puppies and small, young dogs are very popular. I found that there were four dogs in which I was interested that were adopted by the time I called to get more information. I was patient, and I knew that I would find just the right pet for me. Poco Diablo (that wasn't her original name) was number 5. She wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but we knew we were right for each other!
- If you are going to try to arrive at adoption centers operated by the Arizona Humane Society, your best bet might be later in the week but before the weekend. Many of the popular dogs and cats are adopted on weekends, and more pets needing homes start to come in and are processed by the Arizona Humane Society during the beginning of the week.
- At the Arizona Humane Society the pets available for adoption get medical check-ups and shots, and are spayed and neutered before they are available to adopt. They will provide you with any history on the animal that they might have.
- If you are concerned that you can't afford the adoption fee for your pet, then you probably should not adopt one right now. Pets cost money. They need food, toys, medical visits, beds, crates, grooming supplies and other incidentals.
- The adoption process for our little Poco Diablo took about two hours. I had questions about medical issues and such, and they wanted to make sure, as best they could, that we were an appropriate match for the little girl.
- If you are certain you will be adopting a dog, be prepared with some supplies to get you started, like a crate, a couple of dishes, healthy chew toys and some good quality dog food. If you adopt a dog from the Arizona Humane Society you'll receive a starter collar and a leash. Likewise, if you are adopting a cat, it is even easier to do some shopping in advance because most of them are comparable in size. Food, a dish, cat toys, and a brush might be on your shopping list.