How To Adopt An Animal

There are a number of options for people in the UK who may be interested in adopting an animal.  ‘Adoption’ is the term given to taking on responsibility for an animal that is otherwise cared for by an animal charity (such as the RSPCA) or other charitable organisation.  It can mean very different things, though, depending on where you are adopting your animal from and what type of animal you are adopting.

Firstly, there is adoption of the kind associated with wild animals, whether cared for in zoos or monitored in the wild.  For a monthly fee, you can adopt an animal living in the wild or in a zoo: of course, you don’t get to ‘own’ the animal (you might find it rather difficult to find appropriate accommodation for a black rhino in the shared garden of your flats) but you do usually get monthly updates about ‘your’ animal and the work that is on-going to support its care.  You may also receive an occasional photograph so that you can see for yourself the progress and development that your adopted animal is making as a result of the donation you are making.
Depending on which charity organizes the adoption, you may also receive a free gift relating to your chosen animal.  If you adopt from a zoo, you may have your name engraved on the animal’s enclosure and receive free entry to the zoo for you and your family to go and see ‘your’ animal.
Adopting an animal is a great way for charities to raise funds to care, protect and support the animals in their zoo or in the wild.  It is really a dressed-up way of making a regular donation to an animal charity, and is a great way to be involved with an animal even if you cannot spare the time or the money to physically care for it yourself.
The other meaning of ‘adoption’ in this context is to do with adopting an animal from an animal charity like the RSPCA that you intend to bring home and keep as a pet.  These tend to be domestic animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits and small mammals such as guinea pigs and hamsters, but they could also include horses, reptiles and exotic pets.  Basically the RSPCA is often called upon to take care of animals of all species within the UK that may have been abused or neglected or abandoned.  If appropriate, the RSPCA will take steps to rehome those animals via adoption.
To adopt an animal from the RSPCA you would need to contact the charity via their website, phone or by visiting one of their shelters during opening hours.  You would probably already have in mind what sort of animal you would wish to adopt (few people contact the RSPCA unsure of whether to adopt a cat or a boa constrictor, say) but you may be unsure of what breed or characteristics you are searching for in your ideal pet.
The RSPCA can advise as to which animals they currently have available for adoption and arrange for you to meet some of them, whilst asking questions about your home and lifestyle to ascertain which particular pet might best suit you and your family.  The animals will all have been checked for any signs of ill-health, and have been vaccinated, neutered/spayed and treated for parasites as appropriate.
Once you have found your perfect pet you would ordinarily pay a small adoption fee to help towards the cost of the medical care that has already been given to your pet and to help the charity to continue its good work.  If you wish, you can donate more than the suggested amount, if you feel passionately about the work that the charity is undertaking.  Just as with adopting a wild or zoo animal, this is another source of income for charities that rely on public donations as they receive no financial help from the government.
So if you are interested in adopting an animal, make enquiries of your chosen animal charities or zoos today!

This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).