Editor's note: This is the final installment in a series about adopting pets. In case you missed the previous articles: , .
There are good reasons for getting a purebred dog or pedigreed cat: Choosing a pet to be a certain size, temperament or activity level is a smart way to get an animal that fits your lifestyle and personality. That doesn’t mean you have to start with a puppy or kitten, though. Older animals are a better choice if you have children or aren’t able to spend a lot of time housetraining a puppy or supervising a kitten.
Lots of adult dogs and cats are available for adoption through breed-rescue groups, which place animals left homeless by an owner’s death, divorce, move or, more recently, foreclosure.
“People give up their Saint Bernards for various reasons, but the biggest reason over the past couple of years is due to foreclosures,” says Lake Forest resident Carole Di Iullo, president of Adopt A Saint Southern California Saint Bernard Rescue, which takes in approximately 100 Saint Bernards annually.
Tina Seri, president of Pugs ‘N Pals, says her group is also getting more dogs than usual because of foreclosures and job losses. Placing the dogs is also getting tougher, she says.
“We used to place 60-plus dogs a year, and now it is more like 30 or 40, if that,” she says. “At the moment we have 42 dogs in foster care.”
Breed-rescue groups such as Adopt A Saint, Pugs ‘N Pals, Coastal German Shepherd Rescue and Southern California Siamese Rescue take in members of a particular breed, providing foster care in homes or kennels until the animals are adopted. The groups are often affiliated with a national or regional breed club.
If you are interested in adopting a particular breed, do a web search for the breed name and the word "club"—for instance, "Beagle club"—then go to the club’s website to look for the rescue link. Usually there are rescue representatives in most regions of the country.
A search for the breed name and "rescue" will usually take you to a list of local or regional breed rescues. For other rescue groups, check out the list here.
Petfinder is another way to search for a specific breed. It enables you to search by species, breed, size, location and other parameters. Once you find a pet that meets your criteria, contact the rescue group or shelter directly.
For cat breeds, take a look at the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, which has a section for retired, special-needs, rescued and senior cats needing loving homes. There are a number of rescue organizations for popular breeds such as Siamese, Abyssinians and Persians.
What you should know about adopting from a breed-rescue group:
- Puppies or kittens are rarely available.
- The pet will be spayed or neutered before adoption.
- The animal’s health background might be a mystery, so you won’t know if there is a tendency toward hereditary problems such as hip dysplasia or heart disease. On the flip side, you wouldn’t know those things about a mixed breed, either (yes, mixes also get hereditary diseases).
- The organization might require an interview or home check before you are allowed to adopt.
A number of adoption events are ongoing or coming up. Here are a few:
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue is in the midst of its “Summer of Saving Lives” Adopt-a-Thon, through Sept. 10. Coastal has reduced its adoption donation to $100. This includes spay/neuter, all vaccinations and a microchip.
Pugs ‘N Pals hosts an adoption fair next Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Passionate Pet in Irvine.
Hemopet in Garden Grove has a doubly life-saving program. It takes Greyhounds off the track, keeps them temporarily as donors for its canine blood bank (Greyhounds have a universal blood type), then places them in adoptive homes, where they make quiet, loving, easy-care companions.
Whatever you are looking for in a dog or cat, a local shelter or rescue group is likely to have the perfect pet for you.