Pets are more than just animals; they often are part of the family.
Some parents use a pet as a way to teach their children responsibility, but what should families consider before they adopt an animal?
Laura Clark, executive director of Whatcom Humane Society, recommends that families do a lot of research before adopting a pet. Things to consider include what type of animal is best for your home size, the pet's activity level, and the cost of owning the pet. Ongoing costs can include food, litter, and even daycare if the pet will be alone for extended periods of time.
Angi Lenz, the owner of Tails-a-Wagging in Bellingham, a training and daycare resource for dog owners, says parents should expect to do most of the work caring for a pet. She says children usually aren't fully responsible for a pet until their mid-teens.
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She suggests that parents give their children age-appropriate tasks, such as letting a young child use a small cup of water to fill a dog's dish, instead of filling the entire dish themselves.
Here are some places in Bellingham to adopt a pet or learn about adopting one:
WHATCOM HUMANE SOCIETY
Where: 2172 Division St.
Animals available: Usually dogs, cats, rabbits and farm animals, but often other animals.
Cost to adopt: Fees range from $45 to $200.
Fees cover a pet health exam, spay or neutering, initial vaccinations, deworming, feline leukemia testing, microchip and registration, ID tags and license, 30 days of free pet health insurance, collar and leash for dogs, cardboard carrier for cats, certificate for complimentary health exam by local veterinarian, and reference material on pet care and training.
Details: whatcomhumane.org or 360-733-2080.
ALTERNATIVE HUMANE SOCIETY
Where: No permanent location, but holds events twice a month at Petco, 189 E. Bakerview Road.
Animals available: Dogs only.
Cost to adopt: $95 to $175.
Fees include initial veterinary care, shots, micro-chipping, and spay or neutering.
Details: alternativehumanesociety.com /adopt/ or 360-671-7445.
WHATCOM VOICE OF THE ANIMALS
Where: 1322 Railroad Ave., in Hohl Feed & Seed.
Animals available: Cats only.
Cost to adopt: Varies, call for specific pricing.
Fee includes spay or neutering, deworming, defleaing, and initial and followup vaccinations, except for rabies.
Details: call 360-650-0556 for an appointment, or see pet list at petfinder.com/pet-search?shelterid=WA25.