After almost seven years of being a one-dog family, we decided it was time to get another one. Since we adopted our current dog from the Rottweiler Rescue of Los Angeles, we couldn’t imagine getting a new pet any other way.

Yes, there are pet stores and breeders, but there are so many abandoned and homeless pets throughout the country that deserve another chance and a new home and family.

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Here are few places to start your search:

Humane Society: There are Humane Society shelters all over the country. Many times there is at least one HS shelter within each of a state’s counties. Contrary to popular belief, some HS shelters do have high kill rates during the year. Adoptions are available daily and include a small adoption fee, usually under $100, which goes toward spaying or neutering, a health check, and required vaccination shots.

Animal Control: Unfortunately, these shelters are high-kill shelters. Thousands of animals are euthanized daily to make room for more homeless animals. Adoptions are available daily and a include a small adoption fee which, goes toward spaying or neutering, a health check, and required vaccination shots.

Animal Rescues: If you can’t find the right animal for you at the Humane Society or animal control shelters, try looking for an animal rescue organization. If you know what kind of breed you’re interested in, you can easily find breed-specific rescues.

One of the best resources for this type of information is AnimalShelter.org. You can perform a search of animal rescues by state — very easy, very thorough.

When you adopt from an animal rescue, they often ask you for a donation amount or have a set fee. This fee is often higher than the adoption fees at a Humane Society or Animal Control shelter because these rescue shelters are privately owned and rely on donations to keep their organizations running and their animals housed and fed.

These rescues also solely rely on donations for all medical needs and upkeep of the rescue. Without these donations, these invaluable shelters would close and many more animals would be displaced on the streets.

Craigslist: There are hundreds of listing for pets in need of a new home on Craigslist. From my experience, most people are genuine and honest, but there are a small percentage of people who ask for some outrageous fee or have not told the truth about the animal.

Craigslist only allows pet listings if the adoption fee is low. If you see a listing for a pet who needs a new home, but the fee is $800, walk away. These are people who are looking to make a buck and may not have the animal’s best interest in mind. If you do find a pet on Craigslist, make sure you ask a lot of questions about the animal before giving any money to the owner.

Always make sure you can meet the owner and animal in person. There have been quite a few incidents where people have sent owners money for a cat or dog and never heard from them, nor saw the animal. Just be aware that there are scams out there and protect yourself.

Bringing a pet into your family is an important decision. This is a life-long commitment and should not be rushed or taken lightly. Take your time to do your own research and ask as many questions as possible.

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