As we’ve mentioned before, we often ask people why they don’t choose to go to a shelter to adopt their next pet. Very often, the answer is that they’re worried about going to a place where they will be burdened by sadness at the sheer number of homeless pets. They imagine that their depression will override the joy of taking one animal home.
And shelters sometimes are a difficult place to visit. Even though we’ve made many visits both for personal and for professional reasons, a shelter visit can be tough—but we’ve always found it to be so worth it. In our current generation of pets, Irie, Tiki, Felix, Linus and Inca would all approve of our choice to visit a shelter. (Our Coco was a stray cat.)
But another great place to find your next furry family member is at a pet expo, a fun and happy place to check out numerous pets available for adoption. At most expos, admission is free, and you’ll have the chance to meet dozens of local shelters and rescue groups. From mixed breeds to purebreds, dogs to cats (and, at an Amazing Pet Expo we recently attended, even horses!), you’ll find a great assortment of pets in all shapes and sizes.
Adoption rules at the expos will vary, depending on the shelter or rescue group. Some, especially in the case of rescue groups, will be “meet and greets,” offering you the chance to meet the pets, complete an adoption application, and often talk with the pet’s foster parents.
Other groups, particularly shelters, will be adopting from the expo floor. You’ll still need to complete adoption applications and pay applicable fees, but often you’ll be able to adopt immediately.
Most pet expos also allow you to bring along your well-behaved, leashed pet(s). This is a great opportunity to watch the interaction and see how they react to any new pets you are considering for adoption.
If you’ll be attending a pet expo with the hope of adopting, be sure to bring all the paperwork you’d expect to take to a shelter: information on your home (including your landlord’s information if you’re renting), other pets in your home, and veterinary references. If you do bring pets along with you to the expo, you'll need to show proof of their vaccinations. This documentation can vary between expos, but it usually includes a current rabies tag or blood titer results. It doesn’t hurt to bring a collar and leash (or a cat carrier) although most pet expos will have plenty of vendor booths offering all that you need to get your new family member off on the right paw.
For more information on pet expos in your area, visit findyourpetexpo.com.