I'm trying to adopt a dog, so this story from Slate headlined "No pet for you" caught my eye today.
It delves into the potentially mysterious and heartbreaking process of applying to adopt a rescue pet: the pages of questions, the detailed home inspections, the refusals of ownership with painfully little detail or reason.
The process has obvious pros as well -- rescuers want to be sure potential owners are ready for a pet, and that the pets are going to secure homes. And it's undoubtedly different everywhere.
Some story ideas for your publication:
-- How many rescues are in your area? Do they specialize in certain breeds? What are their criteria for adoption? Rescue personnel can explain the reasoning behind the college-exam-style application forms.
-- What are your community's rules for how many pets a household can have? Are there leash laws or other ordinances a new pet owner would need to know?
-- New pet owners have a lot to learn about choosing a vet, proper care of a pet, obedience-training resources -- offer readers a guide. February is National Spay/Neuter Month -- are you local animal hospitals or clinics holding free or reduced-price events?
-- When the economy turned south, many families gave up pets because they could not afford them. Did your local rescues and shelters see a surge in animals in recent years? Are more families adopting pets again? Monitor the trends, which could be indicative of your community's financial health.
-- If people can't financially take on a pet, can they volunteer to work with pets at local shelters or animal hospitals? Does your community have pet food pantries or other organizations/people who help pet owners?