Adopters' Expectations Prior to Companion-Animal Ownership
Adopters’ thoughts and expectations prior to bringing home a companion animal were explored using one-on-one interviews (n=17) at three animal shelters in Ontario. Thematic analysis revealed “adopter concerns of, and perceived challenges to, companion-animal ownership”, “adopter and animal factors taken into consideration in the decision to adopt”, “perceived emotional benefits of the human-companion animal relationship”, “advice and sources for acquiring information”, and “adopter considerations surrounding the required care of a companion animal”. An observational study, involving potential adopters (n=234) recruited from 20 municipal pounds and animal shelters in southern Ontario, explored the associations between lifestyle characteristics and expectations for companion-animal ownership. Linear mixed regression showed adopters’ interest in dogs versus cats affected their expectations of “animal behaviour”, “human-companion animal relationship”, and “effort required in companion-animal ownership”. Relationship status affected “human-companion animal relationship” expectations. Animal-care knowledge influenced “effort required in companion-animal ownership” expectations. Overall results identify areas to educate adopters and guide future research.