Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

March 23, 2012

You received a pet as a gift . . . What now?

(Continued)

CNHI News Service —

If you decide to foster the pet until a home is found, there are several different avenues you can go through to locate that home.

“You can post an ad online,” says Stickney. “Petfinder.com is one site that allows the public to post animals that need homes. If the animal is a purebred, you can also ask breed-specific groups if they will post the animal for you on their site as a courtesy listing. Additionally, there is the Craigslist pet section, but be careful when meeting people or when giving your pet over to them. You never know who is on Craigslist.”

Keep in mind if fostering a young pet that it will need vaccinations and socialization. You may potentially keep the animal for a month or more while a home is located, and you will need to make sure that you stay up to date on its puppy or kitten shots. It will need at least three series of vaccines and dewormings; these usually take place at six weeks, nine weeks and twelve weeks. If it is to be spayed or neutered, this should be done before six months.

“The first three months are very important for socialization,” explains Stickney. “Puppies need to be safely exposed to new stimuli, such as people and other friendly animals, so that they will be better adjusted and less fearful adults. A well-trained dog is a happier and more relaxed individual.”

If you decide that you would like to keep the pet, there are several things that you will need to do. Keep in mind when deciding to keep the “free” puppy or kitten that the first five months can cost up to $500 in expenses. Flea and heartworm preventative, the latter of which is especially necessary in the south, are additional costs.

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