This St. Bernard beauty greeted everyone in the shelter with a wagging tail and a moment of attention. She said hello to everyone who worked there, then approached me. I knelt down so she could sniff my mouth; then she gave me a seal of approval with a light kiss on my nose. She allowed me to give her a hug and from that moment I knew we chose each other. “Rosie” went home with us three days later and has been on of the best family members ever!

I encourage you to look at humane societies first before buying form a pet store or a backyard breeder. Even foster homes can be difficult to adopt from; they require an application that is completely filled out with high-standard credentials, and even then a titch of personal judgment. Going to a humane society can be emotionally straining but when you think about the right pet for your home and lifestyle, it becomes much easier.

A few major pluses when buying an animal form a humane society are:

• They are already spayed or neutered.

• Their shots are up-to-date by a local veterinarian.

• They are usually housebroken or litter box-trained.

• There is usually an X number of day return policy, like a test period.

• The feeling of giving an animal a home and love is more than satisfying.

Some of the comments I’ve heard are:

“I really want a puppy or kitten.” To this I say humane societies usually have kittens and if you’ve never had a puppy before, know what you’re getting into with the cost of shots, housetraining, chewing, time of year and breed.

“I can’t go into a shelter because I would walk out with every animal.” To this I say, most shelters are interested in finding the right animal for the right people. For example, if you’re a couch potato, you don’t want a Border Collie. Also, you can tell everyone you know to go to a shelter. Then more animals will find homes, good homes, forever homes.

“If I’m going to pay money then I want my own animal from the start.” To that selfish comment I say, the home, love, care, exercise, training, etc… you can provide an animal is one of the most satisfying feelings you’ll ever experience. Money paid goes for those updated shots, neutering/spaying, food and staff support from volunteers to office supplies. Money well spent.

Unless you want a show dog or cat there are so many benefits in adopting a pet from a humane society. Also, if you’re looking for a well-deserved organization to give to, especially around the holidays, I encourage you to visit any humane society’s website, because they are often in need of supplies, not just money.

Some local humane societies are:

• Goodhue County Humane Society in Red Wing, Minn.

• Animal Humane Society in Woodbury, Minn.

• Pepin County Humane Society in Durand

• Dunn County Humane Society in Menomonie

Call ahead for hours or view their website before visiting. Bringing a new member into your family and household should be nothing short of a memorable experience, so do your homework and save an animal soul!

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