You’ve considered your finances and time commitments and decided that adding a new pet to the family is achievable, how do you select the new pet?
First you need to decide what species of pet you want; a dog, cat, bunny, bird or something else? This decision depends a lot on what animals you like, the animals allowed by your landlord if you’re a renter, the amount of space you have available, and how your current pets will interact with the new pet. This part is crucial. You have already made a commitment to your current pets, to love and care for them for their entire lives. Bringing in a new pet can create a very stressful situation. To help ease the stress, introductions should be done slowly. Ensure that your current pet(s) have a safe area of the house that the new pet cannot access so they can get away from each other and be sure to spend time with each pet individually.
Second you need to look for your desired pet. This involves deciding the age. Do you want a puppy or kitten? Keep in mind the training a young animal will need as this increases the time commitment to the animal. Would an older animal fit your lifestyle better?
There are many animal shelters that have variable ages of dogs and cats and often puppies and kittens too that have been found as strays or surrendered by their previous owners. Shelters also have various small mammals, birds, and large/farm animals. This is a great first place to look for a new pet. If you don’t find a pet on your first visit, check back in a week or two, as shelters get new animals in all the time. If you have a specific breed in mind due to your lifestyle, check out a breed specific rescue group. A quick google search will result in many national and regional rescues that often pull individuals of the breed from shelters or take them directly from their previous owners. There are also reputable breeders that have animals with known genetics and health checks.
Where ever you find your new pet be sure to give them plenty of love and schedule a visit to your veterinarian within the first few weeks.