Responsible Pet Ownership
Does everyone in the family want a pet? Who will be the primary caretaker? Do you have small children? Large active dogs may be too much for small children. Small delicate dogs may get hurt from rough play with kids. While the playful antics of kittens are hard to resist, adult cats often are better suited for a family with young children. Be aware that many animals are under a great deal of stress in a shelter environment. A pet's true personality may not show through until it has been in a stable home for several weeks.
Spay and neuter your pets.
Keep pets up-to-date on vaccinations.
Buy county tags for your pets annually.
Always keep identification on your pet's collar.
Budget money for visits to the veterinarian.
Teach your pet basic obedience.
Give your pet attention and exercise.
Provide adequate shelter and nutrition to your pets.
Report suspected or witnessed abuse or neglect of domestic animals to the authorities.
Clean up your pet's waste when in a public place.
If you are in the market for a pet, look first at adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue group. Do your homework if purchasing from a breeder. Never buy animals from a puppy mill or a pet store. Ask to see how and where the animals are bred and raised. If you are denied access to the living quarters, do not purchase the animal.
Caring for a pet can be expensive. Before adopting, consider that the law requires that adopted animals be spayed or neutered. Animals also require regular veterinary care (shots, checkups, etc.), food, shelter, and training. All of these costs need to be factored into your budget.
Owning a pet means taking care of the pet for the rest of its life, not just until it grows out of the cute puppy or kitten stage, not just until you are tired, not just until you are bored, not just until you run out of patience or run into financial difficulties, but F-O-R-E-V-E-R. It requires time, energy, money, and positive attention — 365 days a year. Pet ownership easily can be a 10-15 year commitment, so make an informed and deliberate decision.
Advocates for Dogs and Cats in Smyth County, Virginia
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Smyth County Humane Society, Inc. | PO Box 1124 | Marion, Virginia 24354 | Tel. (276) 780-7702 | SCHS is a 501(c)3 organization and is not affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States.