Where + Why to Adopt a Pet in Kansas City
I am the kind of person who needs to always live with an animal in my home. Pets make me feel like I can handle anything that comes my way because I know at least they love me and will always be excited to see me when I get back! Pets are like little cheerleaders who can make any bad day better.
Growing up, we always had dogs in our house. In fifth grade, I took care of a hamster through his brief life, and we also babysat the occasional bunny or Guinea pig.
Our pets taught me how to be a caring, empathetic human. When my hamster got a tumor on his eye, I learned about illness and loss and how important it is to spend time with our loved ones while we have the opportunity.
As our dogs aged, I learned how to respect boundaries—our Old English Sheepdog was big, but she couldn't bear the weight of a small child climbing on top of her like a horse!
Now in my adult life, living with my sister in an apartment, I realized I was missing something. I needed a pet! I didn't feel like it would be right for me to get a dog with my busy lifestyle. I wanted to get an animal I could take good care of and devote the amount of time they required of me.
So, I decided to get Guinea pigs! While some may view Guinea pigs as only pets for children, I believe that it's possible for anyone to form a relationship with a small animal. They are very sweet and relational, and they fit with my life and schedule perfectly. (Follow them on Instagram @guineapigs.gemini.solis!)
So, whether you have recently started a family or have kids all grown and moved out of your house, there is a pet situation perfect for you and your own lifestyle. Let's figure out what works best for you and where you should get your new best friend!
Best Pets for Babies + Toddlers
Babies do really well with older pets. Senior dogs and cats move slower and are calm and gentle. They give babies and toddlers time to investigate them and get familiar with them so they aren't overwhelmed. They also tend to be more nurturing and may view your baby as their own pup to protect.
Just make sure you bring the whole family to the adoption center and give your pet a chance to meet everyone to see how they interact together. Most places allow you to bring your pet back within a window of 30 days or so, but it's hard on an older pet to start to get used to its surroundings and have everything change again. A consistent environment is key to helping them settle in and get comfortable. Let them warm up to your family at their own pace, and they will be the perfect addition.
The great thing about senior pets is that they are usually already potty trained and have learned other basic commands. It will be much easier to acclimate a senior pet to your home versus training and raising a new puppy while you are also busy potty training your own humans!
Best Pets for Children
Once kids are old enough to start learning responsibilities like unloading the dishwasher, they can also learn how to care for a pet. And you have so many pets to choose from!
Small animals like bunnies and Guinea pigs can be good if you know you'll be able to enforce your child being responsible for cleaning the habitat, feeding them and refreshing the water bottle. But, if you fear that you'll end up doing everything and your kid might lose interest after a little while, you might want to get them a pet that you also don't mind taking care of.
When it comes to dogs and cats for children, younger pets are your best bet. Puppies and kittens will be much more interested in toys and playing with your kiddos. You can take your puppy on a walk with your kids or have them ride their bikes ahead of you. Young pets will help your kids get outside more and interact with each other as well. If you're trying to limit the screen time with your kids, a puppy will be a big help.
Best Pets for Adults
Whether you live alone or with a partner, adopting a pet will enrich your life. I promise!
If you are busy like me and spend long hours away from home or even travel on weekends, a small animal can be great. They are also nice if you don't want to do a lot of grooming and cleaning up after your pet. My Guinea pigs do shed on me, but it is nothing like a dog. They require a little bit of brushing and nail trimming, but they are much more self-sufficient in general. Just make sure you get at least two so they don't get lonely when you are away!
(If you have any questions about raising small animals as an adult, please don't hesitate to DM me on Instagram!)
If you have a lot more time on your hands and want something to dedicate your energy to, you might consider adopting a puppy. A puppy is also a great choice if you are fairly active and enjoy going to parks and being outside. Just know you'll have to puppy-proof your home, and you might get some stains on your carpet!
If you want a chill pet that will match your slower lifestyle, but you want more involvement than a Guinea pig or bunny, go for a senior dog or cat. You two will instantly become best friends, and you may even find you have some things in common. It's just better to go through life with a companion; everyone deserves to be loved!
Where to Adopt
OK, do you know what kind of pet you want? Now it's time to start looking! Here is my roundup of fantastic animal shelters and pet adoption centers in Kansas City. Take a look through their websites, make some phone calls and start scheduling some visits. You won't regret it.
And please tag me in your pet adoption posts on Instagram and share your process with me. I'd love to see the furry friend you decide to bring home.
KC Pet Project
"We care for over 10,000 animals a year and work with other animal welfare organizations to increase the number of homeless pets adopted and focus on lifesaving programs promoting pet retention, identification, lost pet reunions, and pet ownership education throughout the community."
Great Plains SPCA
"Great Plains SPCA is one of the largest No-Kill animal shelters in Kansas City, offering comprehensive resources for pets that strengthen the relationship between pets and their human companions. Serving nearly 5,000 pets annually, Great Plains SPCA works to save, protect and improve the lives of animals, by providing humane sheltering, adoptions, unparalleled behavior and training as well as the HERO Team’s humane community outreach."
The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City
"Our mission is to save and improve the lives of dogs and cats throughout the Greater Kansas City community by providing preventive veterinary care and spay/neuter services, education and adoptions. In 1994 we became the first no-kill shelter in the KC area, taking in many pets who are sick or injured and need medical care. Our low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary care clinic saves and improves the lives of thousands of animals every year. We provide much needed care and services for the animals in our community."
Dogs by Debin
"We foster and care for approximately 30-40 dogs at any given time. Our dogs arrive in our care in many ways; owner surrenders, strays and we pull from local high-intake shelters. We have an equal balance of dogs that need medical care, behavioral rehabilitation and many dogs that are just ready to go into that new home today. All of our dogs leave our care spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and heartworm tested (if positive, we treat them)."
Kitty City Kansas
"Kitty City Kansas Rescue is a no-kill, non-profit group of rescuers and individuals who have an affinity for cats. We intake mostly from shelters that have euthanasia policies due to overcrowding or other non-medical conditions. We are, in some cases, the last resort for kittens and cats. Through our wonderful volunteer group, we aim to change the outcome of each and every cat that arrives under our care."