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Adopt, don’t shop

From canines to cats, there are so many animals searching for their forever home

Making the decision to get a companion animal is such an exciting experience. There couldn’t be anything better than opening up your home – and your heart – to a furry friend, who becomes a member of the family in their own right. During this time, it’s hugely important to do your research to ensure you find the right type of animal and breed to suit your lifestyle. One option, and a very worthwhile one at that, is to adopt, as sadly homelessness isn’t a problem that’s unique to humans. On average, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home ( take in an average of 13 dogs and nine cats every day – which means a lot of animals without a place of their own. Over the next pages we have everything you need to know about how and why to adopt an animal.

Taking the first steps

If you’re considering adopting an animal, what happens next? Kristiana Shirley, a vet nurse from People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA, explains how to start the process.

• Do some research

Worryingly, our 2018 PDSA PAW Report found that 5.2 million people undertook no research at all before taking on their companion animal. You should consider if your favourite breed is right for you, and whether you can meet their welfare needs. These include your home environment, if you have the time needed for regular, daily walks and the other costs involved in providing all your animal’s essential care.

• Seek out a reputable charity or shelter

Good rehoming charities such as Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Cats Protection, Blue Cross and Wood Green, The Animals Charity – are likely to have creatures of all types, breeds, ages and sizes, and will be able to help you find your perfect match. Reputable centres will have rigorous adoption processes in place, so they will be able to ensure that you are paired carefully. There are also lots of smaller rescue centres and sanctuaries around the UK. While committed, well-intentioned people mostly run them, try to check the standards of their rehoming process, and the shelter living conditions before buying or rehoming an animal.

• Consider the costs

Rehoming can sometimes be the most cost-effective way of taking on a new furry friend. Many companion animals bought from breeders can come with a hefty price tag, but good adoption centres will neuter, microchip and vaccinate dogs and cats as part of the adoption process, and absorb a lot of that cost for you.

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About Be Kind

Hello, I can remember a time, not so long ago, when most people I know were afraid of bees. Along with wasps, bees would create carnage when innocently passing through a garden BBQ or picnic, as people dashed to safety, terrified of the striped stinging machines. Now, it seems that everyone loves the humble bumble – they’re viewed with reverence and affection, and their cute and cuddly depiction is worn on necklaces and T-shirts across the country. To say it’s been a turnaround would be an understatement, but why has this happened? Our perception of bees has had to change, but only because their crucial population is under threat and their plight has been brought into the public’s consciousness. We know that we have to protect them at all costs, or it will mean terrible things for mankind. But, how many other animals do we currently disregard, that we’ll only appreciate when they’re in trouble? How many of us look more fondly upon walruses, following Attenborough’s devastating documentary? This month we want to shine a light on non-human animals – the heroes who keep our ecosystems balanced, who help teach our children about the planet, and who bring our communities together. We share this Earth with so many creatures, great and small, all of whom are vital to our existence. But we need to begin to respect and care for them now, not just when the odds are against them. Enjoy the issue, Phillipa Editor