By Amber Kingsley Special Guest Contributor

Adopting a pet is an important decision that will impact your life.

Remember that cute little kitty or precious puppy is not going to stay that way for very long.

They can be real handfuls at times and need a great deal of love, attention and training. Before you adopt an animal of any age, make sure you're prepared for this important transition. Take a moment to check over the list below to make sure you’re ready.adopt a pet[ ]  Do your homework.  Do a quick Google search on specific breed types before considering any type of animal. You’ll find out their estimated size once they’ve matured, temperament, grooming needs, if they are known to be good with children and if they are apartment friendly. [ ]  Be prepared. A lot goes into caring for an animal – food, grooming items, cleaning supplies, feeding dishes, water bowls, toys, bedding and other accessories. You can visit any AHS Petique location to pick up all of the supplies you need for your new furry friend. [ ]  Make important decisions first. Before you bring home your little bundle of joy, you should know exactly where they’re going to sleep, eat, play and even poop. Changing these routines midstream can alienate and confuse an animal. [ ]   Expect the unexpected. Just like human children, animals make messes they don’t clean up, have a tendency to break things and don’t put their toys away. While some of these things can be remedied through training, accidents still happen and some behaviors are unavoidable. [ ]  Training techniques. From potty training to basic obedience, you’ll want to have a training plan in place, and AHS is here to help. Whether you want to train you pup to be a superstar or simply learn to sit and stay, AHS offers a variety of dog training classes as well as private lessons. [ ]  Making a commitment.  When you have a child, you’re making a lifelong commitment. The same is true for an animal. Remember, you’ll be caring for this pet for many years to come, an average age of 12 for a dog and 15 for a cat. [ ]  Further commitments. Since you’re going to be with them for life, what about your lifestyle? Job changes, moving and having children will also affect your pet and you should be prepared to make these adjustments with your four-legged friend. [ ]  Household changes. Again, just like bringing home an infant, you’ll have to “puppy proof” or “cat enhance” your home.Toxins must be out of reach, dangerous cords moved, plants identified as non-toxic and any other threats removed. [ ]  Make a schedule.Whether you’ll be taking care of your pet yourself or it’s a family affair, make a schedule of when the animal will be fed, exercised and have bathroom breaks/ cleaning routines. [ ]  Make a budget. Can you really afford a pet? It’s more than simply food and water.They need grooming supplies, regular visits to the veterinarian, medications, toys, treats and other accessories like collars and leashes. There are also unexpected expenses that come from illnesses or injuries. Are you ready? View all of the adorable, adoptable pets waiting for their fur-ever home at AHS today!

Amber Kingsley is a freelance journalist and writer.

June 15, 2016