Why Pet Adoption is Good for Tweens & Teens

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My daughters have been driving my husband and I crazy for several years that they ‘need a perrito’ (dog) and ‘daddy’ has been saying ‘noooo’ for just as long! For their birthday this year I really pushed that it was a good time to introduce the responsibility of caring for a pet and he finally agreed. Our original beloved beagle “Buddy” was with us for 14 years but he went to sleep when the girls were just six. We chose to adopt this time because I really felt that they would benefit from learning to save an animal- to give it love, care, food and a new home.

Tasha was very shy at the shelter but sweet.

Tasha was very shy at the shelter but sweet.

We chose the Humane Society of Miami and its ‘no kill’ shelter- to find our new best friend. Some dogs and cats have been waiting for a new home well over a year.  I really like their ‘no pressure’ policy and their desire to find your family a ‘real match’ – not just send home a pet.

As I’ve mentioned, my twin daughters like to gang up on me many times!  I actually took only one for the first-time visit to the shelter. When we saw ‘Tasha’ we were instantly connected. I was looking for a smaller dog so we could easily travel with it over the summer, to the park, etc. The girls were just looking for the ‘lovey cutesy’ factor and we both won with “Tasha.” She’s very sweet and fits right in to our busy lifestyle. Always ready to go wherever and whenever, she’s quickly become our latest family member.

Do prepare yourself for the ups and downs of pet adoption. The last thing that should happen is that the pet is returned to the shelter again- they’re so fragile.

I created this list with the intention to help prevent adoption remorse as much as possible!

Here are some of the insights we learned: 

  • Have a plan. If you don’t adopt on your first visit, stick to a plan to find the right fit- not just any pet decided on spontaneously.
  • Be ready with the type of dog or pet that will fit your family best: size, shedding, temperament (sweet or sassy), indoor, outdoor, etc.
  • Involve the whole family. Everyone is impacted by a new pet- have everyone on board so your decision is as informed as possible.
  • Don’t let the kids pressure you by the immediate love of a particular pet. When you fall in love- you stop thinking of the possible consequences. Try to be rationale and stick to your plan.
  •  Be ready that the pet needs time to adjust to you, your home and the family. Explain to kids that they too have to be patient. Our “Tasha” didn’t like her toys at first and now plays with everything in sight!
  • Be ready for possible behavioral problems. For example, Tasha is great with people but goes crazy when she sees other dogs. From jumping to crying to running, she looses control around other animals. We’re looking into obedience training to help.
  • Be ready with a chart or plan for the kids’ responsibility. As tweens and teens they’re old enough and can use the responsibility.
  • Don’t give up and feed or walk the dog to get it over with! THEY NEED TO TAKE CARE OF IT.
Family Adoption at Humane Society

Family Adoption at Humane Society

Also see this post for more ideas to help you manage and raise your tweens.

We waited until our family was ready for Tasha and we’re still getting used to a new routine after a few short months. But she has brought mucho amor to the girls’ daily lives and we appreciate that. The adoption process was great and we’re so happy with our decision. Check out your local Humane Society Shelter for more information.



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