Your children have been begging for years, it seems. You have the space. You have the time. You have the drive. Now it’s finally time to add a new member to your family — furry friend.
Owning a dog or cat can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a family, and it makes you feel good to bring a pet into your home. Like anyone in Houston, you have a few choices when it comes to where you want to get your new pet, a shelter or from a store or breeder.
There are a lot of misconceptions about adopting a dog or cat from a shelter, and many overlook the many benefits of taking an animal out of a Houston shelter. Here’s what you need to know about adopting pets from a shelter, the benefits and how to get your home ready for your new furry family member with pressure washing services.
Shelters, stores and breeders
So what’s the difference between all these different pet adoption options and what do they mean for your family? Let’s look at shelters first.
Animal shelters take in dogs and cats of all ages and sizes and adopts them out for low fees or sometimes completely free. Almost every city, including Houston, has at least one animal shelter run by the city, and there are usually a few private and nonprofit shelters run by other groups such as the Humane Society.
Shelters do a lot of great work around the city because they take in strays and unwanted pets that people drop off and find them new homes. They take pets from unsafe or abusive homes, and they work with the animals to help them trust humans again. Many will treat dogs and cats for any diseases they might have, and they work to train cats and dogs so they’ll be ready for their forever home.
You can usually find two types of shelters: kill and no-kill. With so much overcrowding in shelters, so have to put down dogs and cats that have been in the shelter for too long. No-kill shelters, which keep dogs and cats as long as it takes to get them adopted, will often take pets from kill shelters, but not every pet makes it.
There are also traditional pet stores as well as breeders who will sell dogs and cats at a much higher price than in a shelter. Some stores and breeders will keep pets updated on vaccinations and treat any animals that may be sick while in their care, but not all of them do this.
You’ve probably heard the term “adopt, don’t shop” before, and what it encourages is adopting pets from shelters versus buying them in a shop or from a private breeder because of the amount of unwanted pets already filling shelters. Pet stores and breeders provide the supply to meet the current demand, but if there’s less of a demand for puppies and kittens, then fewer will be born and end up in shelters.
Not all stores and breeders are ethical with their treatment of animals. Pet stores sometimes get puppies from puppy mills, where dogs live in unsanitary, overcrowded and unsafe conditions. Some breeders too overbreed their dogs, hurting the mother and potentially passing on damaging genetic and physical traits to the pups. Either way, you might end up buying a sick pup that could endanger your other pets or even kids.
Of course, shelters only have what is available, and it can be hard to find certain types of dogs, such as ones that don’t shed and are safe for people with allergies. Others live in buildings with weight restrictions, and it may be harder to find a smaller dog in some cities. If you do need to go to a store or a breeder, research them before buying.
Everyone is different, but there are so many benefits to adopting a dog or cat from a Houston shelter rather than a pet store or breeder. Here are just a few.
Pets of all ages
We all love puppies and kittens, but not every home can handle the work and dedication to a new baby in the family. Though they’re cute, puppies and kittens require a lot of training and attention. If you and your partner work all day and the kids are at school, then leaving a new puppy home alone in a cage all day is not a good plan.
Most shelters will have puppies and kittens, if that is what you want, but they’ll also have slightly older pets, which can better fit your lifestyle. Older dogs and cats aren’t as active, and they want to relax. If you can’t commit to long walks every day, an older pet won’t need all that activity and will be happy to snooze on the rug until you get home.
Adult dogs and cats, usually between the ages of 1 and 7 for dogs and 1 and 11 for cats, have a lot of energy and love to give, but they usually have some training. They may not be puppies or kittens, but they have long lives to live, and they’d be grateful for good homes.
Senior dogs and cats can be great for quiet, low-action households. They just want to live out their lives on someone’s lap. Senior pets may come with some health issues, but they make great couch companions and they’re just as happy to see you when you get home.
Another shelter bonus: The experts who work in shelters want to make sure pets find forever homes, so they take the time to get to know the dogs and cats that they have. They will work with you to determine which pet will be a good fit for your household and lifestyle. They’ll ask you about your time commitment to a pet as well as how active you are. Some dogs especially require a lot of physical activity, and if you don’t like walking or running, then that won’t be the pup for you. That’s okay though. A shelter expert can find you a pet who’s a better fit.
Trained and ready
Unfortunately, a lot of shelters take in pets from homes that can’t keep or don’t want them any more. We won’t dwell on why that happens — it’ll just make us all sad — but because shelters have pets of all ages, families can take home dogs and cats that are already, or at least partially, trained.
Many pets returned from homes are already housebroken. They know that they need to do their business outside, and they will likely look for a door in your home or alert you in some way to take them out. You’ll have fewer accidents inside, and though it might take your new pet a few weeks to get used to your home, you’ll have an easier time housetraining them than a new puppy.
Many shelters will also work to train dogs and cats in their care. Some shelters put puppies through K9 training to make them more adoptable, and some that run training classes for the public, they’ll teach dogs a few easy commands such as sit and stay. The experts working the shelter can also help you continue your new pet’s training, so you can teach it fun tricks such as shake and rollover.
Because these dogs and cats come from homes, many of them are also socialized with other animals and many are good with kids. This is also the benefit of a shelter expert: They can tell you which pets are safe for homes with kids and which ones aren’t. Some dogs, for example, need adult-only homes. Some are great with kids of all ages, and other need older kids only.
Healthy and happy
Every shelter in Houston treats all its animals whether they have kennel cough, a heartworm or an injured leg. But that’s not all.
Shelters will keep dogs and cats updated on their vaccines as well as tick, flea and heartworm medication. They’ll monitor growth and make sure all pets stay healthy until they’re adopted. Not all pet stores or breeders will do this, and in fact, some pets in pet stores are already sick. Because most shelters are nonprofits, there’s nothing to be gained from adopting out a sick animal.
They will also spay and neuter pets. This is one of the best ways to fight overcrowding shelters, and it makes both cats and dogs less aggressive. You also won’t have to worry about ever having an accidental litter, either yours or someone else’s.
Pet stores and breeders will charge anywhere from a few hundred to over $1,000 for a puppy or kitten, depending on if it’s purebred or a “designer” breed.
Most shelters will charge less than $100 for a dog or cat, and some will even reimburse you the fee if you enroll your pet in a training class at the shelter. It’s a win-win. Your pet will be more obedient, and you’ll bond with it as you train it.
A new best friend
Beyond having a healthy and trained pet, you’re going to have a new best friend in your household, one that has so much love to give you.
Having a pet offers myriad benefits, including:
- Active lifestyles: Even if your pet wants to play for just a few minutes a day, it will still get you up and moving. As a pet owner, you’ll soon find just how fun running around the backyard with your dog can be, and your health will likely show it.
- Good companion: A pet always wants to be around you and can’t wait until you get home. If you live alone or your partner travels for work, having a cat or dog around will make you feel less lonely.
- Guarding and safety: Dogs often deter crime around your home, even smaller ones. A barking dog will usually alert a homeowner or wake them up if a burglar is trying to break in. Burglars go for the easiest home on the block, so having a dog makes your home slightly less easy.
- Fun and happiness: At the end of the day, having a pet is pretty great. They’re fun to have around, and it makes you happy to see them so happy and content in your home.
Why you should use pressure washing services before adopting a pet
Now that we have you convinced of the benefits of adopting a cat or dog from a shelter, it’s time to get your home ready for them, and that includes your exterior. Your dog and maybe cat, depending on if it’s an outdoor car, will be spending time outdoors, and keeping your exterior in good condition can keep your pets healthier.
That’s where pressure washing services come in handy. Your pet will want to spend time on your deck and probably sniffing around your fences. With pressure washing services, you can clean off your deck and get rid of dirt and pests that may be hiding out. If your backyard is more wooded, you may have ticks or fleas hanging around, so pressure washing services can clean off your deck and fence, making them less hospitable to pests that could hurt your new cat or dog.
Remember, your cat or dog will be coming in and out of your home on the back deck, tracking in dirt. With pressure washing services, there will be less dirt on your deck to bring into your home.
You will also want to spend time outdoors with your new pup, so for your own sake, it’s worth having an expert in pressure washing services come out and clean your deck. That way, you won’t mind sitting out at night with your pet, and you won’t have to worry about tracking in dirt or unwanted pets. The pressure washing services will take care of everything.
There’s no greater joy than bringing a new cat or dog to your home for the first time. By getting your pet from a shelter, you’re making room for other animals that will be coming to the shelter, and you’re not contributing to puppy mills or the overbreeding of animals. Best fo all, you’re giving a pet a second chance at a happy home, a place to live out their lives in comfort and love.
We want to know: What kind of dog or cat would you like to adopt from a shelter? Tell us in the comments and let us know how our pressure washing services can help you get your backyard ready for your new furry friend.