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Things to know before adopting a dog

Nearly half the households in the United States have a dog. But before adopting “man’s best friend,” there are important things to consider before going to the animal shelter.

“There are a lot of reasons that animals end up in our shelter. Sometimes it is a situation where people can't afford the animal, and other times there are life circumstances that come up,” said Shannon Kirkman, director of marketing at Animal Haven in New York City. “People sometimes just realize they weren't quite ready for a dog in their home.”

Temo, the 8-month old Chihuahua mix, got his very own wheelchair on the day he was adopted from Animal Haven.

Every year, more than 3 million dogs enter animal shelters for a variety of reasons, ranging from economic struggles to animal abuse. Shelters like Animal Haven interview potential adopters to make sure they are a good match for the dog as well as verify that they are financially able to support themselves and their new pet.

“There can be a lot of unexpected costs,” Kirkman said in the video above. She listed adoption and licensing fees, veterinary costs, traveling, grooming, and unexpected medical costs as examples of items people should be aware of if they want to become a pet owner. According to one report, the your first year of owning a dog can cost about $1,270.

Bones, the six-year-old retriever mix, looks on as potential adopters walk through Animal Haven's doors.

“It's a really big decision to add an animal to your family, and it's a big responsibility,” said Kirkman. “You are a hero, because you have given this animal a second, third, or even fourth chance at life. And that makes adding an animal to your home even more special.”

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