Adopting Your New Best Friend

Adopting Your New Best Friend
Everything you need to know about adopting a dog, cat, puppy, kitten, rabbit, bird, hamster or other small pet

Congratulations!  You are considering adopting a best friend. Well, you have come to the right place. The Michigan Humane Society adoption process ensures not only that you will take home a wonderful companion, but will do so at the very best value available. Best of all, you can also count on MHS long past the adoption -- we are here to help you throughout the life of your pet! 

The resources of this site are designed to assist you before, during and after the adoption process. If you can’t wait another minute and would like to view our current adoptable pets, please use the following links:

> Adoption Home Page
> MHS Detroit Center for Animal Care
> MHS Rochester Hills Center for Animal Care
> MHS Berman Center for Animal Care-Westland

Why Adopt?
By adopting from MHS, you are doing the following:

  1. Bringing into your home the very best, well-cared for pet available! 
  2. Taking advantage of the MHS Adoption Package which includes the following, making it the best value in a new best friend:
    • Sterilization (spaying or neutering) 
    • Medical examination
    • Behavioral assessment
    • Age-appropriate vaccinations
    • Fecal check
    • Heartworm test (dogs)
    • Much more…
  3. Helping to end the pet overpopulation crisis that leaves millions of animals without homes and proper care each year.
  4. Helping to support the more than 100,000 animals that MHS cares for each year.  MHS is one of the top five animal welfare organization in the country.
  5. Voting against the cruel and inhumane practices of puppy mills and irresponsible breeders whose first consideration is money, not the well-being of the animals “produced.”
  6. Supporting the work of the internationally famous Detroit “Animal Cops” and their commitment to rescue animals from cruel and neglectful situations.
  7. Becoming part of a network of MHS care services inclusive of full service veterinary centers, and a behavioral assistance helpline designed to support you for the lifetime of your pet.
  8. You are being socially conscious and cool!

Before You Adopt
An important step in the adoption process is discussing with family members what expectations they have for the new pet, and whether they will have the time, patience, energy and financial ability to care for a pet throughout his lifetime.  Be realistic in assigning pet care duties.  Children may have good intentions, but their activities may inadvertently keep them from adhering to the pet’s need for a reliable routine.  Together, research the type of pets you are considering as this will make your adoption experience all the more rewarding.  Remember, too, that MHS adoption counselors will help match you with the right pet! 

The following questions will help you prepare for the adoption of a new furry friend:

How much time do I have to devote to a companion animal? 
Pets depend on us for nutritious food, clean water, exercise and playtime, care and companionship every day.  If you work long hours or have very young children, then highly-active dog breeds, puppies or kittens may not be the best choice.  Puppies and kittens require careful house-proofing and close supervision.  For an easier transition, you might consider adopting an older animal who is more likely to be calmer, housetrained and accustomed to family life.  As added benefits, you’ll have a much better idea of the animal’s full grown size, temperament and daily exercise requirements!  MHS will help you make a great match!

Can I afford the animal I’m considering? 
The costs to care for your pet can add up quickly for regular vaccines, veterinary check-ups, food, medication, toys, treats, supplies, grooming and kenneling in addition to unforeseen expenses.  In general, first-year costs for a puppy or kitten are higher than for adult pets.  Make sure you are ready to take on the long-term financial commitment of caring for a furry family member.  By adopting from MHS, the initial costs to acquire your pet may be hundreds less - even when compared to acquiring a “free” pet.

Are my living arrangements suitable for the pet I have in mind? 
Along with the pet’s size and the space he’ll need for exercise, there are other characteristics to carefully consider.  For example, some small breed dogs are very active and may be prone to barking, so apartment living may not be ideal.  On the other hand, cat are often well-suited to apartment life, provided they are allowed by your landlord.  Research several breeds and choose a pet who will fit into your family, home and lifestyle.  While 25-30% of the animals at MHS are purebreds, keep in mind that the best pet for you may actually be a mixed-breed.  At our adoption centers, we’ll be able to provide detailed information about the pet(s) you are considering. 

Is it a good time for me to add a pet? 
If you travel frequently or are working long hours, you may want to consider holding off until your schedule settles down.  If you have very young children, you might want to wait until they are a little older.  And, while carefully considered holiday season adoptions can be a wonderful addition to your family, keep in mind the additional stress and time commitments that often come with this time of year.  In general, including the whole family in the adoption, either before or after the busy holidays, can result in a much less stressful transition for everyone - including your new pet.  MHS offers pets for adoption Monday through Saturday at our three adoption centers, and 7 days a week at our offsite PetSmart cat and kitten adoption partner locations during store hours. 

Can I make a long-term, permanent commitment to this pet? 
While pets do so much to enhance our lives with their unconditional love and companionship, there may be challenges throughout the years -- whether behavioral, medical or financial.  To the extent possible, carefully consider your plans for the next 10 to 20 years, to help ensure that your pet can remain a part of those plans with regard to time, housing that welcomes your pet, and finances.  Check out our Adopter Support resources.

Do I have time to commit to dog training? 
Training is often an afterthought (or no thought at all) but without proper training, socialization and daily exercise, the antics that were cute for a puppy can become frustrating as the dog grows.  By committing to positive dog or puppy training and socialization early in the adoption, guardians will be much better able to manage their pet’s normal behaviors.  Age is no object -- dogs of all ages can learn.  Your efforts will also help ensure your dog is a good canine citizen.

Adoption Resources

> Adoption Forms
> Adoption Package and Pricing
> Adoption Process
> Locations and Hours
> Pets in the Media
> Special Needs Animals
> The ‘Value’ of Adoption

Additional Resources

> Adoption 'Tails'
> Lost and Found Pets
> Pet Behavior and Training
> Surrendering a Pet

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