November in South County is special for several reasons: Quieter beaches, turning leaves, pumpkin patches, and, let’s be honest, it’s best enjoyed with a four-legged friend by your side. While the biggest animal adoption event of the season – Super Dog Adoption Day hosted by Always Adopt at Clark Farms in Matunuck – is postponed till June, that doesn’t mean you can’t find your pup (or other loyal companion!) before it’s time to cozy up for the holidays.
Before you start falling in love with any potential pets, it’s important to prep yourself with plenty of research. While having an animal is, of course, beneficial in many ways, including physically (heart-healthy walks) and mentally (aiding with depression, anxiety, and loneliness) – in addition to being adorably loveable – adopting a pet is no small decision. According to the ASPCA, first-time pet owners should consider finances, time, and the household as factors. “Owning a dog or cat costs more than the initial adoption fee,” says the ASPCA, going on to cite vet care, food, and more. “When adopting, you are making a commitment to care for an animal for the rest of his life – that could mean 15 to 20 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats.” Then, you must be prepared to care for your pet through all of life’s changing circumstances, like children and moves. Simply put, “Caring for a companion animal goes far beyond providing food, water, and shelter.”
After you’ve done your research and determined you and your family are ready for the responsibility of an animal, it’s time to make sure your space is, too. Get into good habits of sealing garbage bins tightly, storing toxic foods safely out of reach, and getting rid of any poisonous plants. And, with the holidays fast approaching, make sure you don’t have any decorations up that might be potential hazards for your new pet (e.g. tinsel, an unanchored Christmas tree, or unattended lit candles). Instead, embrace pet-proofing with gusto and invest in double-sided sticky tape for furniture corners you’d rather not get scratched up by your new kitty, or roll up those accent rugs until your pup is house trained. Oh, and don’t forget to create lots of comfy places for your furbaby to lounge, whether their own cozy beds or blanket nests on the couch.