You’re considering to adopt a pet. You may have the type of pet you want, presumably a cat or a dog, and maybe you’ve compared the breed. Perhaps you even have a great idea of what companion you’re looking for. On the other hand, it’s possible that you’re just looking for any kind of fur companion to fit into your family. As you look for where to adopt your pet, you’ve most likely seen the numerous options for pet adoptions. So is there a difference between adopting a pet from your local Humane Society or from a reputable animal rescue? There are pros and cons to all sides of the pet adoption fence. Let’s explore.

Adopting from Animal Shelters

In large cities such as Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon for animal shelters to have an “open-door” policy meaning they don’t turn animals away. Unfortunately, this means crowded cages with concrete floors and a mere fence as a home. With an open-door policy, sometimes animal shelters are forced to euthanize older “tenants” animals who haven’t been adopted. The animals don’t get much time outside, nor do they get the companionship many pets desire, just as humans do. The major pro of adopting from an animal shelter means making more room, allowing the shelter to get other animals off the streets without needing to euthanize any shelter animals.

Largely considered a con of adopting animals from an animal shelter would be that due to an “open-door” policy, there is no formal screen process. Without a screening process, it’s hard to tell the history of a pet, it’s capabilities in your home and your family compatibility with this animal. Expect to do much training with the animal such as house training, the introduction of children and other pets, and also getting your new pet on a proper diet. You will also want to take your new companion to it’s new vet where checkups will be necessary, and you’ll likely get a better idea of your pet’s overall health and learn more about them.

Adopting from Humane Societies

The SPCA and Humane Societies are different than animal shelters and other humane societies. Although this sounds confusing, consider them both to be a brand name. They both function as non-profit organizations. They also most likely will have “limited admission” to where they are not required to euthanize animals in order to make room for more. Unfortunately, this means that they often turn away animals leaving them without a shelter or food.

You should expect to pay  adoption fees at a Humane Society or SPCA, which those fees can vary greatly. They don’t do a formal background check or even look at your home, however they do expect you to pay for the adoption of your new pet.

Pros and Cons for Adopting from Rescues/Foster Programs

Rescues differ greatly from animal shelters and humane societies. Due to the fact that rescues are foster homes or boarding kennels, the animals have a much better life as well as family companionship to start. The foster homes and owners of the kennels take the time to get to know and understand the dogs, thus when you adopt from a rescue, the foster family or kennel workers can tell you all about the pet you seek to adopt. You’ll know right from the start if the animal is a good fit for your family and home. Local rescues and online shelters have the capability for you to search online, seeing all of the possible pets you could adopt.

The downside to adopting from rescues is the expense. Because foster homes spend so much time and effort, the adoption fees are greater than animal shelters and humane societies. However, can you really put a price on your fur companion?

As you consider where to adopt your new pet from, keep in mind the major differences between each adoption center.