Adoption is a promise to care for an animal for his or her entire lifetime-- when she gets sick, when you change apartments, jobs, or country, when you get married or have kids-- not just while you live in Korea. Before you adopt an animal, please take the time to reflect on your lifestyle and future plans.

If you are new to Korea, think about what you will be doing when your initial adjustment period is over and you no longer feel lonely or homesick. Consider also what you will be doing when your time in Korea is up.

If you don’t feel absolutely certain that you will be able to provide a home for your companion for her entire lifetime, please do not adopt at this time. Fostering, pet sitting, or volunteering at an animal shelter might be better options for you.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Adopt

  • How much time in a day can I devote to a companion animal?
  • Do I have the resources necessary to provide proper care?
  • Can I provide for unforeseen expenses?
  • Does my landlord allow pets? If so, what kind and what size?
  • Do I travel a lot on weekends or go out often after work?
  • Will I be leaving the country during vacation? For how long?
  • Who can take care of my companion if I take a trip?
  • What will I be doing when my time in Korea is finished? Where will I be living?
  • Am I prepared to travel with my companion? What will it cost?
  • Am I committed to taking my companion with me when I leave Korea, no matter where I go?
  • Am I willing to forgo moving to an apartment or a country if my pet cannot live there, too?
  • What are the pet importation rules for my home country or next destination?

Selecting a Good Match For You

Once you've decided to accept the responsibilities of becoming a pet guardian, the next step is to decide who would best match your lifestyle. Research different types of pets and breeds through online articles and books. Also, talk to people who have the same type of companion, whether in person or through online discussion groups.

Don't forget that all animals are individuals, and two animals of the same breed or species will not have the exact same personality, even if they share many other characteristics. If you're looking for a laid-back companion, for example, a very young terrier or Husky may have more energy than you want to handle, but an adult or senior who has outgrown the puppy stage may be perfect. Spend time with any animal you are considering adopting before you make a final decision, don't rely on breed descriptions alone.

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Written by Karen Busch. Originally published in 2011.