Want to know what it’s like to adopt a pet?

See what these pet parents had to say about their experience, and get a better understanding of what you can expect.

Light after the storm

PET NAME: STORM

Storm was a rescue from the shelter, the poor boy was abandoned during one of New Jersey's worst hurricanes, hurricane Sandy. We live by the coast so it was brutal and our schools shut down for shelters as houses flooded. Storm's previous owners left him to die in the flood, but the boy escaped and the shelter got him. There were thousands of dogs there from this hurricane and as I was walking down looking at them I stopped at Storm's cage. He was the only dog not barking like crazy but skinny, sad and lonely. And that was the moment I knew he was my dog. He needed people the most and now he's a 125 pound beautiful old man who is the best dog anyone could ask for. From then on he was my best friend and his previous owners never came back for him, which I'm glad they didn't, because Storm deserves the world. He is now an 11-year-old man who just wants to go in a car or on a walk. He has recently lost his hearing due to age but can still hear sharp whistles which doesn't matter much either way because he never ran away. If the gate got loose he would sit in the driveway and wait for us, he never needs a leash on a walk because he'll always walk right back to me. Never needed training, just a natural bond between me and my good boy. He went through it during 2012 and I will forever make it up to him for the owners that left him as a one-year-old in one of the worst hurricanes of my time and home in NJ.

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Worth the wait

PET NAME: TRIGGER

Trigger was brought into a high-kill shelter as a stray. I saw him online and immediately fell in love, then even more so when I met him in person. His previous owners had 2 weeks to come and get him, but I put a deposit down so that I could adopt him if they never claimed him. After many broken promises to retrieve him from the shelter, his previous owners surrendered their right to Trigger and I was able to finally bring him home. He is the light of my life and was so very worth the agonizing weeks of waiting to bring him home!

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From one friend to another

PET NAME: GUS

I lost my cat of 19 years and was heartsick. A few months went by and a friend asked me to go to the Humane Society. On the way, I knew I wasn't looking, my friend was. I was looking around and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a cat that looked amazingly like the cat I lost. I went over to look at him and asked if I wanted a closer look and took me behind the cages. He looked kind of pitiful and sad. Turned out he had an eye infection and they were putting ointment on it. He needed me so I took him home. Turns out I needed him too.

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Small puppy chews on red ball in grass.

Kindred spirits

PET NAME: LUNA

I adopted Luna (Notte was her shelter name) at the Pasadena humane on a Saturday. My sister had been wanting a cat since forever after sending me thousands of cat videos on Instagram I ended up wanting one too. My parents, however, we're still pretty skeptical about the idea of having a cat around the house. My aunt had shown my sister a flyer about Pasadena Humane's free adoption day and the story is best continued through my sister's point of view. Once we finally got into the shelter and looked at all the cats there was one cat in particular that caught my eye. She was a small black kitten by the name of "Notte". She was curled up in a ball sleeping and her back was facing us. For this reason, not very many people took interest in her as they were looking for more playful kittens. This, however, was the reason she caught my eye. I felt like I could somehow relate to her lack of interest and trust in people. When they first opened the cage, she seemed afraid which I could understand. I can only imagine how hard her life must've been prior to being in the shelter. Even though I had all the intention to adopt her myself if it was possible, I was unfortunately unable to because of my age but thankfully my brother was able to. And even though she isn't legally mine, I still totally see her as mine, and I think it's safe to say she thinks the same! Luna loves to follow me around everywhere and now she is the most lovable, playful, happy, and curious kitty I have ever met. She is truly the best thing that has happened to me and my family! Anyways, some advice that I would give to future pet parents would be to try and make sure you have everything you need prior to your little fur babies arrival, BUT I'd also say to be prepared to be woken up very early in the morning because the fur babies are gonna be begging you for food!

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The more the merrier

PET NAME: CALI

I actually met Cali because my wife was pregnant and we already had 1 rescue dog, Gizmo. Gizmo was our baby, he was 3 pounds when we got him so he truly was just like a little baby. We took him everywhere we went, I would put him in my hoodie pocket to hide him in stores that didn't allow pets, my wife rocked him to sleep, it was the beginning of a new family. So when I found out that we were having our first child my wife and I discussed it and decided that we didn't want him to feel abandoned or left out so we decided to go to the humane center. I walked in, my wife began to look around but instantly I saw who is now Cali, and I was just drawn to her. I walked over and she was so timid and scared but I picked her up and carried her around the entire time we looked. My mind was already made up from the moment I held her in my arms. She was roughly 3 months old, 7 lbs and nothing but skin and bones. Now 4 years later she is 55lbs and such an amazing family dog. Cali & Gizmo are inseparable, it's amazing how they became so close in a very short time, they're complete opposites in size and breed so it's funny to watch them play and how motherly Cali is towards him. Our family is now happily complete, all it takes is love, time & compassion. They are amazing dogs in every way possible and our almost 4-year-old has the greatest 2 best friends who are always by her side. Gizmo and Cali filled our hearts with everything we needed!!!!

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The gentlest giant

PET NAME: SETH

After having to cancel our wedding due to Covid, my husband and I eloped in a small ceremony on our original date in late May of 2020. When we realized that we were going to both be work-from-home for some time, we knew that it was the right time to start our family by adopting a dog. We found Seth, a treeing walker coonhound, on a local rescue page. He was described as a "gentle giant" and boy does that description match him. He has brought so much joy and love into our lives. My husband now permanently works from home so he and Seth get to enjoy being coworkers for life and then we all go for evening walks as a family. My advice to future pet parents is to give your dog lots of love, go on hiking adventures, and enjoy the gift that having a pet can give you.

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Woman puts a brown collar on dog near bathtub.

Love at first website

PET NAME: DAKOTA

My family adopted Dakota at a shelter. We saw her on the shelter website and wanted to meet her in person. We instantly fell in love. Adoption is a great way to provide homes to dogs in need. I highly recommend finding your new best friend at an animal shelter.

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Third times a charm

PET NAME: FINN

After being returned to the shelter 2 different times, I saw him there. I wasn't looking for a little dog but he needed a home and I understand Terriers and the need for guidance so I adopted him. He is a great little dog and very grateful to have found his forever home!

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A happy handful

PET NAME: BELLA

We first met Bella as a tiny puppy who didn't even have her eyes open yet. She fit into the palm of our hand. We visited her once more with our rescued dog Sophie so she could bond. When she was old enough we brought her home & she followed Sophie everywhere.

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Young African-American boy sits with curly-haired dog looking out the window.

Have love, will travel

PET NAME: WALKER

I saw Walker's picture at a kill shelter and knew that he needed to be rescued and adopted. He had the sweetest face and huge paws! He was in Nashville, GA and I was in New York. I adopted him —or should I say he adopted and saved me. After a month he was brought up to me through a friend traveling to New York to visit family. He's the most amazing pup and adopting changed me. He is the most loving pup ever and I'm so thankful he is the most amazing pup. Everyone should adopt and clear out the shelters. Give all babies all forever homes. Having a fur baby is a lifelong commitment and a part of your family.

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Care that's always there

PET NAME: RICKY

I saw a picture of Ricky on a shelter website and immediately fell in love. Went to meet him three days later and brought him home. When adopting a pet I recommend you be prepared for anything and everything. They are a child and need to be treated like a member of your family. Just like a child, they need food, toys, and doctor visits. Where children grow up, mature, and leave your pet never does. At the end of the day, they are the best friends you could ever have.

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African-American man in blue sweater wearing headphones holds small dog in lap.

The perfect family fit

PET NAME: MAIZE

Our family went to our local Connecticut Humane Society in Newington, Connecticut to look for a family dog. We went back a couple of times but didn't find a dog that was just right for our family. The last time we visited, we decided to look at the cats because one of my sons seemed to be afraid of even the sweetest of dogs. When we walked around the cats, Maize came right up to the window and really looked like she wanted to come out and play. We decided to see how the interaction would go and she was a hit. A grey domestic cat, only 6 months at the time. She added spunk, soft cuddles, and the occasional cold shoulder to our lives. We wouldn't have it any other way.

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Nothing's warmer than mittens

PET NAME: MITTENS

Once we had recovered from losing our cat Mittens after more than 16 years, we went to the Sacramento SPCA (where I used to volunteer) looking for a short hair, female cat. Alley jumped on our lap as soon as we sat down, and we knew she was for us. Of the 11 cats we have had over the years, none were "huggers". We are really enjoying her hugging and snuggling. We are grateful she picked us that day.

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Close-up on long-haired cat on bed, with woman in pink sweater blurred in background

From foster to family

PET NAME: JEFFERY

I fostered Jeffrey for the rescue I volunteer with. No one wanted to adopt him, several people even said he was "ugly." He was always beautiful to our family, and we made him ours. The advice we would give is to love your pet unconditionally all of their life, and through the physical and mental changes, they will experience as they age.

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Total transformation

PET NAME: BENNY

I adopted Benny from a small shelter in Wisconsin. I contacted the shelter and made arrangements to meet and adopt him. When I arrived at the shelter I was asked to go into the cat room and play with all the cats. While Benny wasn't that interested in play, he did want to sit on my lap and that sealed the deal. I got him home and took him to see my vet for a wellness check and that's when I found out he had ringworm. He was on medication for six weeks and during that time I needed to vacuum my carpets and dry mop my hard surface floors for ten weeks to remove any fur or and dander that may contain ringworm spores. I can now report that Benny is fully recovered and doing well. My advice to potential adopters is to adopt the animal that you most want, be ready for anything, and be committed to the well-being of your pet. The reward is love and companionship.

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From scared to cared for

PET NAME: MOTOR

I met Motor at the animal shelter where I used to volunteer on the weekends. He was a very scared little Kitty and I felt so sorry I felt that I just had to bring him home. When I went back to the shelter with my husband, he fell in love with Motor as well and the rest is history.

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Sometimes you just know

PET NAME: SCRAMBLES

Before I met my sweet cat, Scrambles, I never had a pet before. On a whim, I decided to go visit the shelter she was living in because seeing her pictures and reading about her from her profile on the shelter's website, she just sounded perfect! Scrambles is a disabled cat and was living in the shelter for several months after she was picked up as a stray. I intended to just go meet her and see if she would be a good fit for a first-time pet owner, feeling on the fence about whether I was ready to bring a cat home with me or not. When I walked into the room she was being kept in, she cried and ran to me to be pet and I knew I wanted to have her as a part of my life. The thought of bringing a pet home can be daunting, but I think the most important thing to keep in mind is to treat your pet like family because they really are an important part of a person's life. They live in your home with you and should feel loved and cherished, just like any human family member should feel! Being a pet parent is the most fulfilling thing for me and while a lot of people may say that it's a long-term commitment, it's not long enough for me!

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Young girl in pink shirt and princess crown scratches chin of white long-haired cat lying on pink rug.

Follow your gut

PET NAME: FUZZY WUZZY

I went to a shelter to meet a different cat, but my boy, who was originally called "Fuzzy Wuzzy," made me fall in love with him... follow your gut!

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A major win

PET NAME: MAJOR

Adopted from Laken Haven Rescue, a local non-profit shelter. I used to volunteer for the owner and I told her I was starting to look for a companion again. She called me a few days after Major had been brought to her and before she even listed him on the adoption website. She said she thought he was going to be a good fit and I should come to meet him. The next day I met him and fell in love, he came home with me the very next day. He is a very sweet, gentle boy and is indeed a wonderful companion for me. Advice for future pet parents I would give is to be sure you're ready, both time-wise and financially, for a pet. Have a veterinarian lined up for your pet's care and establish your pet with them as soon after adoption as possible. Keep them up to date on their routine healthcare needs. Have a little cushion of savings for emergencies and/or pet health insurance. Don't wait for an emergency to try and figure out where you're going to take your pet and how you're going to pay. Figure out who will take care of your pet should you need to travel without them -- ideally, multiple options in case one doesn't work out when you need it to. Remember, your pet is part of your life but to them, you are their whole life.

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Woman kisses gray and white cat sitting in her arms.

Welcome home, Potter

PET NAME: POTTER

We had just signed up to be a foster for a local rescue. They were desperately looking for someone who could take Potter immediately and foster him. We stepped up and two hours later he showed up. We kept him with the intentions to foster only and after two weeks we realized he was a perfect fit here and should stay. We called the rescue, signed the papers and he was ours forever. He's the best dog I've ever had.

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Close-up of long brown-haired dog, person in green shirt blurred in background.

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