Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

Making the right match

After reading through the pre-adoption checklist and you're ready to adopt, visit an SPCA shelter. There are many great pets waiting to become your companion for life. You may not find the right one right away, be patient but visit frequently or check out our available shelter animals online.

Here are some additional considerations.


Maturity:  Are there benefits to an older animal?

Older, mature animals are usually more laid back and have been trained. You will know their size, look and personality. Often it is the mature animals that get overlooked in shelters but they are also some of the best companions that adjust quickly to new guardians.


Kittens/Puppies: Are they right for you?

It seems everyone wants a kitten or puppy but there are real benefits to adopting a slightly older animal. Puppies and kittens change rapidly and require patience, training and time plus they can be destructive while going through their chewing phase. Unless you are prepared for a major investment in time, a kitten or puppy may not be what you expect. In fact, unless you do put in that time you will be faced with behaviour issues that will worsen as time goes on especially for dogs.


Patience: Shelter animals will need time to adjust.

There are many wonderful, eager animals waiting for a new loving home at the shelter. They are often confused and scared by their new surroundings. Don't assume that because the dog is barking or acting indifferent it will not make a good companion. Remember that this is not an ideal environment for these animals and their true temperament may not appear until you have spent some time with that animal. Patience and understanding are important when adopting any animal but it is even more important for shelter animals.

These animals come from varying backgrounds. Some are well behaved and adjusted and others need some training and the right environment. Making the right match to your expectations and lifestyle is extremely important. This will avoid frustration and a return to the shelter. Shelter workers can help you make the right choice through the Companion Animal Matching Program.


Sterilization: Your new companion will be spayed or neutered.

The goal of the SPCA is to have all animals spayed or neutered prior to adoption. Spaying and neutering is required for all shelter animals. If they haven't been altered prior to adoption, a certificate to have your animal spayed or neutering by a veterinarian is included with adoption. This procedure must be done within 6 months and an SPCA representative will do a follow up check to make sure this has been done.

The shelter offers a variety of animals. There are mixed breeds and purebreds. Check out the adoptable animals section to see what is available.


Transition: Preparing your home is essential.

All members of the household need to be involved in the new arrival. The whole family should have a role in selecting the new animal and in having a role in the in-home adjustment. 


Creating a safe and stable living environment is essential. Decide if there are any areas of the house that are off limits. Don't allow the animal to have access to the whole house and then later restrict them to only certain areas. Create an area that will be their space. Make sure it is warm, quiet and comfortable. Animals need to have a place to retreat and you may want them  to stay in one area from time to time. A crate is a good option for dogs. They have a natural denning instinct and often like the enclosed space (with the door open). 



Cats are very clean creatures. An accessible, proper sized litter box situated far away from their feeding area is important. They will also need a comfortable bed to sleep on as they spend much of their day sleeping. Cats like to perch so create areas where they can be up high and against a wall or in a corner. Offering a window perch offers them stimulation without having to go outside. 


Small Animals 

Small animals need to be in a place away from other pets when first being introduced to your home. Have their living space set up before you bring them home and decide where he/she will be kept. Remember some small animals are nocturnal and can be noisy at night. They must be kept in secure cages so that they will not escape. Small animals such as guinea pigs may be stressed when being held. People are seen as a predator. Keep the noise level low and the atmosphere calm. This will help the animal ease into its surroundings more comfortably. 

Pet proofing your home like you would for a child will avoid accidents. Make sure poisonous plants and household products, pesticides, medication, and breakable items are out of reach. Secure electrical cords out of reach. You will also need to survey the yard to check for possible escape routes and other hazards. Prevention of accidents will protect your pets from injury and protect your household.


Consistency: A good relationship begins with clear communication.

As well as love and attention, your new pet requires consistency when it comes to house rules and the command language used to communicate with your dog. If you are new to dogs it is absolutely imperative you go through a reputable dog training program. They will teach you and the dog clear expectations so that behaviour issues don't arise.

The number one reason people surrender animals is because they have problems with behaviour issues. Decide before the dog or cat comes home whether the pet will be allowed on furniture or the bed. Don't allow behaviours you later decide are inappropriate once the dog has settled in. He won't understand after being allowed at the beginning. Also, everyone in the family must play by the same rules!

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