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Before You Adopt

Owning a pet is a commitment requiring an investment of time, patience and money. A hasty decision to adopt a pet, when one has not considered all the responsibilities and logistics, can lead to unfortunate situations for both pet and owner. Please take some time to think about the following questions and discuss them with all members of your household.

If you wish to adopt from the Bow Valley SPCA, we require completion of an Adoption Application. Please note that we do not do same-day adoptions, and our dogs require meet-and-greets as part of the adoption process.

Questions to Ask

What does it mean to adopt?

When dogs and cats arrive at our Centre, we view them as having been rescued. They are now safe. They have shelter, food and veterinary care. We are a no-kill, no-cage facility, and due to our small size, we can give lots of one-on-one attention to our furry residents. Our staff spoil our residents, and they receive the best care possible. When you choose to adopt, you are making the choice to continue to provide the same level of care that our animals receive here. Taking on a furry companion can be a big responsibility financially and can drastically alter your lifestyle.  Remember, if it's not the right time for you, our cats and dogs will continue to be extremely well cared for with us - they've already been rescued!

Can you afford to have this pet?

If you are adopting a pet, it may require two additional vaccines at monthly intervals that will cost up to $100. Following initial vaccinations, your pet will need annual vaccinations and examinations. You will also have costs associated with feeding your pet. On average, a cat will cost about $200 a year to feed whereas the average 50 lb. dog will eat about $600 worth of food every year. Don’t forget to factor in other potential costs such as toys, food dishes, scratching posts, cat litter, leashes, collars, grooming fees, kennel fees, and town licenses.

You should also have money set aside in an emergency fund (or pay monthly for pet insurance) for the unanticipated veterinary needs. Even a basic ear infection or bite wound/scratch will cost $90 or more. More serious conditions that require hospitalization, surgery or intensive treatment quickly run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. You should not adopt a pet if you will be unable or unwilling to meet these unforeseen costs. If finances are tight and your pet is facing a medical emergency, click HERE for resources that may be available to you.

Is this the right type of pet for you?

Make sure you have a living arrangement and lifestyle that is appropriate for the pet you are adopting. Adopting a large, high energy dog when you live in small condo with no yard may not be fair to the dog. If you are away at work for long periods of time during the day, a cat might be a better option than a dog. If you travel a lot, you should make sure you have pet sitters, boarding facilities (which can be expensive) or friends that will take care of your pet.

Are you in rental accommodation or staff housing?

Check with your landlord and make sure you are allowed to have a pet. If you are in a place that allows pets, how secure are you in that location? Finding a new place to live when you have pets can be very difficult.

Do you have enough time for your new pet?

In general, adult dogs or cats require less of your time than puppies and kittens; however you will still need to take them out for daily exercise and you may also need 20 minutes a day for obedience training, time to socialize with other dogs and people, for grooming, bathing, etc. Cats may not need to be walked and may not require any training, but they do need play and exercise time too.

This information has been designed to trigger a little bit of soul searching on your part. We know how easy it is to see a rescued animal and to immediately want to take that animal home. Remember this is a long term commitment you are making. Many cats and small dogs live well into their teens. All we ask is that you take some time to consider the questions above and make sure that this is the right pet, at the right time for you and your family!