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Mutt-i-gree Tips for a Happy Adoption

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North Shore Animal League America pioneered the Mutt-i-grees&® Movement in 2009 to promote the unique qualities of shelter animals or Mutt-i-grees® as the perfect pet. Of the approximately 8 million animals that enter shelters every year – most of them healthy and beautiful – more than 3 millon are tragically euthanized. While infinitely varied and individualistic, these wonderful animals share one common need: to find a permanent, loving home.

If you're looking to make that important step and bring a lovable mutt-i-gree®into your home, here are some important tips to find the right pet for you.


Almost every dog in a shelter can provide you with unconditional love and companionship, and every dog deserves a lifelong, loving home. But some dogs are better for you and your lifestyle than others. That’s why you should take the time to make a thoughtful choice. After all, you’re choosing a friend who’ll be with you for many years. Select the right dog, and you and your new companion will enjoy those years to the fullest.

Size and Temperament
A dog’s size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness, and compatibility with children should all be considered when making your decision. An active, energetic dog might catch your eye, but a quiet or reserved dog might be easier to live with and care for. Also a dog who likes to be touched and is not sensitive to handling and noise will probably do well in a house full of kids.

Puppy or Dog?
Puppies usually require much more training and supervision than mature dogs. If you lack the time or patience to housetrain your pup or to correct problems like chewing and jumping, an adult dog may be a better choice.

Purebreds or Mixed Breed?
Purebred dogs generally conform to a specific “breed standard”. Mixed breeds are simply combinations of different breeds, and are less likely to have genetic disorders due to the diverse gene pool. If you can recognize the ancestry of a particular mixed breed, you have a good chance of knowing how he’ll turn out.


Cats make wonderful pets and can easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles and living spaces. Even so, a cat’s personality, age, and appearance, as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home, are all things you should keep in mind when making your selection. Remember, you’re committing to love and care for your new pet for its lifetime – up to 20 years. So choose carefully and be a responsible pet guardian.

Choose a Personality
Look for a cat that is playful, active, alert, and comfortable while being held and stroked. Remember, because they are in an unfamiliar environment, some cats who are usually quite social may be frightened or passive while at the shelter.

Kitten or Cat?
Kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens need more time to train and feed. Young children usually don’t have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat that is at least four months old is probably the best choice for homes with kids under six years old.

Shorthaired or Long?
You’ll see more shorthaired cats at the shelter since they’re the most popular and common cats. Longhaired cats make equally wonderful pets, but they do require more frequent grooming.

Whether you choose a dog or cat –
Be responsible and spay or neuter your pet!

Spayed/neutered pets:
• Live longer than unspayed/unneutered pets – dogs on average 1-3 more years; cats on average 3-5 more years.
• Roam outside the home less which lowers their chance of injury.
• Fight less with other dogs and cats reducing the risk of resulting wounds.
• Low to no instances of mammary gland tumors/cancer, perianal tumors, pyometria, and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.

Plus, you will be helping to end the pet overpopulation crisis that results in the unnecessary deaths of innocent animals nationwide.

One Stop for All Your Pet Needs
PLUS Discounts on Pet Care

We have everything you need for your new best friend right here on our campus!

Vaccinations: All pets are vaccinated and receive thorough medical examinations, grooming and are evaluated by our pet behavior team.

Pet Supply Store: Each adopter receives 10% off when they take home a pet and also receives a coupon for a bag of dog/cat food

Medical Center: Our Lewyt Medical Center is open to the public, where you'll have access to high quality, low cost medical care for the lifetime of your pet.

Low-cost Obedience Classes: Puppy kindergarten and obedience classes as well as free advice from our Pet Behaviorists.


Related Adoption Advice


What to Bring
When You Adopt

The adoption approval process will go much smoother if you have the following items on hand:

  • 2 Forms of ID (photo ID & credit card/utility bill)
  • If you are renting, bring a copy of your lease/rental agreement stating Pet Policies
  • If applicable, veterinary paperwork from previous pets