Though it's true that thousands of puppies and kittens--not to mention older dogs and cats--desperately need homes, impulse ownership is rarely a good idea. It can be bad for you and it can be bad for the animal. If you have been toying with the idea of adopting a new pet, you need to truly understand the responsibilities that go along with it.
Adopting a new pet is a wonderful thing, as long as you are confident that you can give it what it needs to have a good life.
The first thing that you need to understand is that a pet costs money. Whether or not it costs you money to adopt it, it will cost you money on a regular basis after you adopt it. You may have already figured in costs for such things as food, cat litter, and even shots, but vet bills almost always have to figure into that equation too. Puppies and kittens need to be spayed and neutered. Pets get sick and they get hurt, just like people do, and you have to decide if you'll be able to handle the sometimes phenomenal vet bills if something should happen. Fleas can be a costly problem as well. The food you buy for your pet is important. If you buy the cheapest food you will probably pay for it later in vet bills. You have to supply your pet with good nutrition, and that is simply going to cost more.
Your pet also needs attention, and this includes cats as well as dogs. Though cats tend to be much more aloof than dogs, they still appreciate your attention at times. A dog wants to be near you as much as possible. Pack animals by instinct, dogs are happiest when they are among their families. If you are planning on keeping your dog tied up in the backyard most of the time or sequestered in another room, then think twice about getting one. Constant isolation is agonizing to a dog, and no way to make one live. If you have to travel at times and can't bring a dog with you, you'll want to make sure that he'll have care and companionship while you're gone.
It is in your best interest and your potential pet's best interest if you really take the time to give pet ownership some thought. If you believe that you can handle the responsibility then by all means, adopt a pet--so many of them need homes. If you're not sure, though, wait until you are. A true animal lover makes sure that they can provide an animal everything that it needs to live a happy life before they bring it home.