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Selecting A Pet

Choose your four-footed friends carefully.Puppies and Kittens

Pets are available through breeding kennels; pet shops; from neighbors whose pets had litters; and from organizations, such as humane societies and animal shelters.

Mixed Breed Animals usually come from a neighbor or an animal shelter or humane society. The latter organizations take pride in helping you to choose a pet suited to your life-style and can advise you on the proper care for the pet after the selection has been made. Shelters and humane societies also often require assurances of spaying or neutering and that proper inoculations are administered.

Although we have less assurance of what a mixed breed puppy or kitten will look like when full grown, seeing the sire or dam can give you some clues. A puppy's basic attitude toward litter-mates or in a kennel - quiet or assertive - can also give you some idea of a potential pet's personality.

Purebred Animals usually are purchased at kennels or pet shops. The best way to select the proper kennel or pet shop is to visit several which have been recommended to you, noting the cleanliness of the operation and how the animals are handled by employees. One advantage of selecting a purebred cat or dog is that the purchaser can be fairly certain of what the pet will look like when it is grown. First-time owners should probably choose a more tranquil breed; pet owners with more time or experience can choose a pet with stronger temperament, which may also require more training.

With any pet, however, an owner's real satisfaction largely depends on the care, training, and attention given the animal.

How Much to Spend

Your budget and life-style are key factors in determining the amount of money you should spend. Adopting a pet can prove that the "best things in life are free."

The price of a purebred animal reflects breed popularity and rarity, money invested in stud fees, maternity care, food, shelter, and veterinary fees. A pet which is not close to the standard of perfection for its breed will cost less but still be a good pet.

Sex: One sex is not necessarily better than the other although females tend to be quieter and do not roam as much as males.

An important point here, however, is to prevent unplanned breeding. Before breeding your pet, make sure newborn pets will have homes. Consult your veterinarian about having your pet spayed or neutered.

Age: A puppy should be at least seven weeks old and a kitten eight weeks when brought into a new family for the first time.

In addition, older animals which already have received some attention and care usually adjust to a new home easily and make ideal pets (shelters and humane societies, although offering puppies and kittens, have full grown pets available, some purebred and many housebroken or trained).

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