Green Monsters are animals lovers, of course! So when you see an animal in need, your instinct might be to say “adopt them, now!” You begin to consider all the ways you can afford a new animal companion and convince yourself it’s the perfect time to adopt or rescue the animal.

But is it?

As a child, I brought home many a stray kitten – not in the least understanding or considering the concept of whether or not my mom could really afford to properly care for my new furry friend. Nowadays, working directly with the rescue center – where my red smooth standard dachshund, Rouge, came from – I see more than enough sad eyes of dogs who want to be adopted.

I have reoccurring thoughts of wanting to somehow bring them all home with me. Many others have felt the pang and have done exactly that – opened sanctuaries for animals that touched their hearts and extended that space to others. Just look at Steve and Derek, the loving adopter of Esther the Wonder Pig who recently decided to open their own sanctuary!

While opening a sanctuary of your own would be pretty incredible – it’s certainly not a ready option for everyone. So we volunteer; we share posts of adoptable kittens, dogs, rabbits and more; we donate some old bedding or even newspapers. Still, we sometimes feel it just isn’t enough. Plus, let’s face it – who doesn’t want an excuse to bring another animal into the house? They provide love, companionship and even loyal protection.

However, are these good reasons to add another pet into your household?

The following questions are designed to get you thinking about your level of preparedness in adding another pet into your home. While there are approximately 70 million stray domestic animals in the U.S. that need our help, we always need to ask ourselves what our real capacity to actually help is at this moment right now.

1. How are Your Monthly Finances?

It may not be the most comfortable question to answer, but adding another pet into your home will increase your monthly expenditures. Regardless of whether or not your new pet needs vet work, which most do when coming from a rescue or the streets, the basic costs are not necessarily affordable for all budgets. Make sure you have enough in your budget for:

  • Great quality food.
  • Monthly pet insurance (or at least $1,000 or more depending on the animal) saved for unexpected vet costs like unknown health conditions or injuries.
  • Enough to cover a few household “mishaps” like chewing, scratching, marking and more.
  • Enough so that if professional training becomes necessary, you can afford it.

It’s simply not fair to promise a forever home to a previously abandoned or abused animal, only then to not be able to afford its food or proper vet care. That, unfortunately, is how many animals end up homeless in the first place!

2. What’s Your Current Daily Schedule Like?

Having two pets is not the same or even nearly the same as having just one. It doesn’t matter if they are both dogs with the same walking schedule, feeding schedule and sleeping schedule – adding another pet into the home takes up more time. Remember: adding a new pet doesn’t mean you need to spend less time with them just because they’ve got each other. I recommend planning for an extra half-hour of care per day.

3. What’s Your Pet’s Daily Schedule Like?

Does your current pet spend a lot of time alone, sleeping or lounging while you’re away or even at home? Does he or she get adequate exercise to maintain a healthy weight? How about play time? If you’re unsure about the answers, that’s not the greatest sign. Remember the new addition will need even more care at first to integrate into your current situation and learn the rules and routine.

4. Does Your Pet Have Any Behavioral Issues You Wished They Didn’t?

Please, work on these first! If your animal is showing aggressive behaviors, it’s not the best time to add another into your household. Dog trainers at Shiba Shake warn that you could end up with “two terrors” instead of one. Work with your current pet to overcome the problem and then re-consider the addition.

5. What is Your Current and Near-Future Living Situation Like?

Do you have someone in the house who’s not ready or willing to take on the responsibility of additional pet care? Even if you may feel ready for another, your team may not, which can prove to be challenging and destructive to relationships.

6. Think About Home Hazards

Does your current residence have any potential hazards that your current pet is trained to be safe around, but a new pet would need to get accustomed to? I’m talking unfenced pools, high-rise railing balconies, steep stairs and more. If any of these are a concern, fix with them prior to seeking out a rescue.

7. Finally Think About Why You Want to Do This

If you’re wanting to adopt a new companion because of a death, loss, or disappointment, wait a few months and re-consider. While it’s true that abandoned and stray animals need our help, we can’t help them from a false angle. We can’t bring them into our lives to comfort, entertain and protect us if we’re not prepared, even though they do these things for us regardless. We need to understand that adoption and rescue is about saving animals first and foremost – their saving us in more ways than one is a complete bonus!

Image source: AlanH20/ Flickr