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July 09, 2015

Thinking about adopting a pet?

Six regional resources to help you find your perfect match

Pets Shelters
dogsummer File Art/for PhillyVoice

It's the dog days of summer!

There are several reasons why summer is a perfect time to adopt a pet. 

Having a puppy around gives you an incentive to get outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather and get some exercise.

And in the summer months, there's often more down time since the kids are out of school, which will help the animal get acclimated into the family.

Whatever your reason, it’s vital that you do your homework before adopting an animal, from figuring out what kind and breed will fit best in your family to locating a licensed, reputable shelter.

Summer selfies are better with a pup. (File Art.)

Here are six regional resources to help you find your new furry friend

1. Learn what breed fits best with your family

There are many shelters that specialize in a certain kind of animal or breed. 

For example, in New Jersey, The Senior Dogs Project focuses on finding homes for dogs who are in need of a warm bed and a friendly pat on the head during its golden years. SOS Beagles works to find homes for the floppy-eared, fun-loving breed.

While senior dogs typically do better in a quiet and calm home where they can relax, an energetic Beagle may make the perfect playmate for an adventurous child.

The SOS (Save Our Snoopies) Beagle Rescue is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of beagles by sheltering homeless or abandoned dogs and adopting them to loving homes. (SOS Beagles.)

2. Know the law

Whether you're planning to adopt a cat or a dog, the first step is to make sure the breeder or animal shelter is licensed and legitimate. 

In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, animal boarding and selling facilities must have an up-to-date kennel license.

In Pennsylvania, state law also prohibits selling, trading, transferring or bartering a dog that is under the age of 8 weeks.

Brown kitten rests in grass
Cats like to roll around in the grass, too. (File Art)

3. Locate a reputable animal shelter

There are many advantages to rescuing an animal from a shelter, from saving a life and giving it a better home to helping to end an epidemic of abandoned animals. 

You may also want to know if the shelter is a no-kill shelter.
A good place to start is the Pennsylvania SPCA, the Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia and the New Jersey SPCA.

There nothing like a cool breeze on a warm day. (File Art)

4. A healthy pet is a happy pet

Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have a Puppy Lemon Law in place (just like with a car) to ensure that consumers buying a dog in Pennsylvania know their new pet has a clean bill of health.  

As a dog owner, it's your job to make sure your pet is licensed through your county treasurer and has its current rabies vaccination. 

Thrabies vaccine is required by every state in the U.S. (File Art)

5. Make an emergency plan

Have you pet's veterinarian phone number on hand and know where the closest vet hospital is in location to your home, including one that is open in the middle of the night. 

Just like children, animals can get sick at any time or get into some mischief that can cause them harm. It's your job to be the caretaker of your animal.

Look out for dogs that suddenly lose interest in games and walks, as this sudden lack of enthusiasm could be their way of telling you they aren't feeling well. (File Art)

6. Have fun! 

Dog parks are a great place to let your dog play since they are usually gated so the animal can feel free. 

Just about every community has a dog park. Here is a list of several awesome ones in Pennsylvania.

There are few things in life a dog loves more than running off-leash. (File Art)