Thank you for considering adopting a companion animal from the Healing Hearts. Now that you feel you are ready to adopt, we want to find the right match for you. You are about to make an important commitment that should not be rushed into. Your new pet will be with you for years, and choosing him or her is a big decision.
It takes research and careful planning to bring the right pet into your home, and to make sure your lifestyle is the right one for your pet. Answering the following questions will get you started.
1. Why do you want to adopt a pet?
People adopt for many reasons. You need to assess what is your specific reason. For example, are you looking for the loyal and steady companionship that an animal can offer? Are you hoping to fill the empty place left after a loss of your pet? Maybe you want a companion for your child. Knowing why you’re preparing to bring a pet home will help you to determine the species and breed that will fit your lifestyle. The level of care and commitment for horses, dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, etc. vary greatly. You need to be aware of this before making a decision.
2. Are you ready to make a long-term commitment?
When adopting, you are making a commitment to care for an animal for the rest of his life—that could mean 10 to 15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats, and even over 35 years for a horse. As you go through lifestyle changes such as moves, the birth of children and new jobs, your animal will remain a permanent part of your life. If circumstances change, will you still be able to care for your pet?
3. Do you know what kind of pet is right for you?
Your personality and lifestyle, along with challenges such as space restrictions and amount of time spent at home, should be explored to determine what pet is right for your household. Research different breeds and ask Healing Hearts staff members what animals they recommend—they’re experts at making perfect matches!
4. Can you afford to care for your pet’s health and safety?
Owning a dog or cat costs far more than the initial adoption fee and you must be prepared for the additional expenses. Horses require a substantial amount of financial resources. Dogs and cats will require food, veterinary care, and proper identification—that means a collar with tags, this all adds up. (All animals adopted from Healing Hearts will be spayed/neutered and micro chipped which is included in the adoption fee). Horses require enormous amounts of financial resources, hay, vet care, and proper acreage is extremely expensive. You need to make sure you are capable of handling these expenses for the life of the horse.
5. Will you be able to spend enough time together?
Dogs thrive on several hours of exercise and companionship every day, when they are constantly left alone they often develop behavioral problems. Cats are healthiest and happiest indoors. We require all cats adopted from Healing Hearts to be indoor cats. If your work demands that you travel often, or if you’re out of the house most days and evenings, this may not be the right time to adopt. Horses need human interaction on a daily basis. They need companionship. If your horse is alone most of the time, you should consider getting a second horse or other animal, such as a goat, for company. Horses with insufficient opportunity to socialize, move and graze are more likely to have behavioral problems. These are issues to consider when adopting a horse.
6. Are you prepared to deal with an animal’s health challenges?
Fleas, allergies and sudden medical issues are just a few of the health-related problems that potential pet owners may face. Horses face many health issues as well. Here is a small list of different types of health issues a horse may experience: Colic, Splints, Sore or Bucked Shins, Bowed Tendons or Tendonitis, Sidebones, Ringbone, Capped Elbow, Sweeney, Upward Fixation of the Patella, Stringhalt, Capped Hock, Curb, Thoroughpins, to name just a few! Horses can become ill quite easily and you must be able to identify their symptoms and be able to afford the necessary vet care. Bottom line, be sure you can you care for your pet if they gets sick.
7. Are you willing to train your animal companion?
Lack of training is one of the most common reasons that adopters return pets to shelters—are you willing to solve behavior problems? Basic training helps dogs and their owners communicate better, strengthening the relationship overall. And taking the time to understand why your cat does what she does, especially when it involves her litter box and scratching habits, will help you avoid potential problems. Horses will develop behavior problems as well if they are not afforded with the appropriate open space and socialization it needs.
8. Is your living space adequate for an animal companion?
Be sure to choose an animal that will thrive in your home. If you’re attracted to energetic large-breed dogs, but live in a small apartment, will your new buddy have enough room? If you live on a noisy street, will it disturb your cat? Also consider that many landlords don’t allow pets or place restrictions on having them. Be sure to check out your “house rules” before adopting. Do you have enough acreage to give adequate space to a horse, goat or cow?
9. Is your family ready for a pet?
If your kids are still toddlers, you might consider waiting a few years before adopting, as pet ownership ideally is a team effort. Children who are mature enough can happily share pet-care duties. You may also have another pet at home who’s not yet—or may never be—ready to share his kingdom with another animal. Consider the personality of your existing horses – will they be adaptable to a new horse or animal?
If you are interested in adopting after careful consideration, explore our website for available animals that might make a welcome addition to your home.