I was recently in the market for a new puppy and WOW! I had no idea how intense the adoption process could be here in the Austin area. If you’re in the market for a furry friend, do your research, be patient and be prepared to fall in love with more animals than you could ever possibly fit into your entire house.
Austin is incredibly pet-friendly, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the vast number of shelters in the city, but among the sea of options, in my opinion Austin Animal Center, Austin Pets Alive, and Austin Humane Society are the front-runners.
First of all, definitely check out the websites and all of their listed adoption availabilities, but don’t limit yourself to that — go in person as soon as you can. Shelters receive animals (young and old, canine, feline, and more) daily. There’s no telling what could happen when you go look on site — someone could be dropping off a litter of kittens at that exact moment, and one of those sweet whiskered friends could be perfect for you. Shelters will set up in front of pet supply stores frequently, but that’s such a small percentage of what you’ll experience at the shelter itself.
On the other hand, some of the baby fur balls are in foster care, which means you can’t meet them until you fill out an adoption application, contact the foster family, and set up a meet-and-greet. Yes, application. As in, you might have to “interview” for the pet of your dreams. Apparently, adopting a pet can be quite similar to adopting a child, and I get it — shelters want their animals to live in the most loving and caring environments as possible. Don’t get discouraged by the meticulous process though — it’ll be worth it once you’re home with your new pup or kitty.
Not sure if you’re ready to adopt? Volunteer at a shelter! You can walk, feed, bathe, and play with animals who could really use some one-on-one attention. Plus, you’ll get to know the shelter better and be able to get a more in-depth view of the animals’ personalities.
Finally, don’t forget, there are tons of surrounding small towns with shelters that aren’t really advertised. I wound up adopting the most beautiful lab mix from Seguin Animal Services after a friend of mine shared a Facebook post announcing a total of eight “Christmas puppies” that were ready for a safe home.
We are so happy that we adopted — it’s tragic to think about the life Abby would’ve had if the shelter hadn’t found her or if she would’ve never been adopted. Before visiting the shelters, I was researching buying a lab puppy from breeders, and I’m so glad I didn’t go this route. Save yourself hundreds of dollars and save a pet’s life—adopt don’t shop!