Pet tips from Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza, the authors of "Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference."

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There are 4,000 to 6,000 animal shelters in the U.S. To help those pets, offers these tips to potential owners.

1. Go to an animal shelter or adoption center near you to see if there is an animal with which you “connect.” If not, visit another location or come back another day.

2. Speak with an adoption counselor at the location about whether your choice of particular type or breed will be best for you and your lifestyle.

3. Only select a pet if you have a realistic understanding of the time, effort, and money required to provide a healthy, loving environment for your pet.

4. Enjoy your newfound friend. Animals are unconcerned about age, looks or physical ability; they accept you just as you are. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, seriously consider adopting. Not only will you be helping your new pet, but you’ll also be rewarded with years of companionship, entertainment, unconditional love, and increased opportunities to meet others.