Once you decide the kind of pet you want, it is time to bring them home but how to decide whether to buy or adopt is a key parameter to know. Broadly, there are two ways to get your pet- buying or adoption.
Buying via Breeders or Pet Shops
Adoption via Veterinarians, Direct Contacts, Shelter houses, Foster homes or NGOs
Both options are equally ethical and although it is a personal choice between the two, the basic difference lies between you choosing a pet versus him choosing you. When you are looking for a specific breed, which is rare, you will have to reach out to breeders or pet shops otherwise you can go for adoption. There would be a huge cost difference since the breeder sells to make money and adoption is done to save a life.
Things to check before BUYING a pet:
For Cats and Dogs, A pet purchased from a breeder can be of two qualities pure-bred (pedigree line) or mixed (low-cost pups/kittens), hence a prior visit to a Veterinarian would help to choose a better pet as you will be getting the basic idea of the appearance and other specifications.
The first step here is to identify a trusted breeder. Placing value on good breeders is a way you can support responsible breeding and avoid funding the cruel puppy mill industry. To locate a nearby good breeder, either you can contact a vet, or ask another pet owner. Other options like visiting pet shows or researching online for good pet breeders or pet owners’ groups are also equally popular.
The second step would be to meet the breeder, see if his premises are clean and odor-free, check if he demonstrates a genuine passion for animals, see if the animals look healthy, ask whether the pets are kept with their parents, observe how he interacts with the animals, ask him all your doubts (regarding husbandry) and assess whether he can answer them appropriately. Also, check if the breeder has documentation for the pet’s lineage and breed. One might also check for references of individuals who bought pets from him.
The next step is to validate the authenticity of breeders via the local authority licenses. Like most of the dog/cat breeders will be registered with the Kennel Club of India (KCI), so they should be willing to show you their licenses. The costs involved in buying a KCI registered versus non-KCI registered pet shall differ a lot depending on the breed selected and pedigree.
For Rodents, as of today, there are no authenticated dealers for buying rodents in India, they can only be picked up either from a local pet market or if someone known is donating them to you. Like cats and dogs, you will have to identify a trusted pet shop owner or pet breeder with the help of a veterinarian, pet owner, or social networks. Although, authentic breeds are available but not quite in abundance. They can be procured from those who already have them as pets, hence, social media plays an important role to search such owners around your locality.
Most rodents are flock animals and they might feel quite lonely when you bring them home hence, you need to consider buying a pair, to keep each other company. Just make sure that you get them spayed and neutered.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is understanding their grooming and management needs hence, it becomes necessary to visit a local exotic pet veterinarian (not every vet is specialized in exotic pets) so that you can provide your pet with a comfortable environment.
For Exotic Birds, Reptiles and Chelonians, Just like other pets, authenticated breeders for these exotic birds and reptiles are available in the local market, the knowledge of which can be accessed via your local Veterinarian or from the people who already are housing them or via social networks. Again, it is important to visit a local exotic pet vet before to have a better understanding of their grooming and management needs.
Buying a pet in India can be paper-based or non-paper based. Paper-based buying is usually more expensive than the other and it requires the breeder to provide a written declaration of the pet’s pedigree chart or breed line. This document is delivered mostly 3-6 months post the delivery of the pet to the owner.
Things to do before ADOPTING a pet (Cats and Dogs):
That isn’t to say that a breeder is the only way to get a pure breed – one can find purebred pets at shelters as well, just he/she may need to be patient. Adopting a shelter pet is rewarding since you are saving one of the innocent lives that might have been tortured, neglected, abandoned, or abused and you are also helping to break the cycle of pet overpopulation. These animals have struggled under horrific circumstances, left at the mercy of elements that make these animals end up in animal welfare shelters or NGOs. Some might assume that there is something wrong with these animals, which is not the case. Their human owners abandoned them because of their ignorance, irresponsible and neglectful behavior. Also, since these animals are adopted at a very minimal or low cost, one should not consider them for granted and must be careful while treating them because many animal welfare organizations do keep a watch on adoptions and have the right to raise voice if the case be.
Unless you adopt them and bring them home, you would not understand how it feels to make a rescued pet realize that they have a home too. The unconditional love that one is going to get back definitely has no bounds and is nothing but pure bliss.
If you choose to adopt a pet, reach out to your nearest vet or shelter homes and let them know the kind of pet you are looking for and they will connect you with the government-affiliated NGOs for adoption. Social media can also provide information on trusted foster homes, which are working with equal efficiency for providing better homes for strays.
The adoption process in India requires one to fill up an adoption questionnaire, based on which the shelter representative might do a background check, home visit, or ask questions and invite you to visit the shelter and finalize the adoption. The adoption process also requires permission from all family members and sign an approval form.
One can reach out to the nearest shelter for pets in their respective cities as mentioned below:
Bangalore: CARE, CUPA, Karuna Foundation, Let’s Live together, People for Animals, Love for Forgotten etc.
Mumbai: YODA, Animal Matter to Me, Apna Home Animal Shelter, The Welfare of Stray Dogs, etc.
Delhi: Canine Foster Homes, Kalyani Animal Welfare Foundation, Karma, etc.
Pune: Jeevraksha, ResQ Charitable Trust, Karma etc.
Chennai: People for Animals, Animal Welfare & Protection Trust, INCARE etc.
Kolkata: Arc Shelter, Calcutta Pinjrapool, Animal Pride etc.
Hyderabad: Blue Cross of Hyderabad, People For Animals, etc.
Also, find below the key pointers to take care of before buying or adopting a pet:
Do not buy a pet too young (below 50 days old) -longer the pet stays with his mother, the better will be his immunity
Schedule a pre-visit to your veterinarian to understand breed specific details and also, to understand the signs of a healthy or unhealthy pet before you visit any pet breeder or shelter home. In case you observe any abnormalities in its health or behavior while getting the pet handed over, apprise the breeder or shelter representative about it.
Spend time interacting with the pet at the shelter or a breeder’s place, make multiple visits, try to develop a bond, do not choose, and decide to pick up the animal on the first visit. Once this relationship develops, your pet will be rather delighted in your company than anywhere else