SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The number of animals coming into shelters peaks during the summer months making it a great time to open your heart and home to a new pet.

Summer is a great time to adopt a pet, more people are spending time at home which allows for more time to bond with your pet. The warm weather is also ideal for walks or trips to the park. If you are interested in adopting, first check out the shelter’s website to see what’s available.

“This is when we do see the numbers in shelters go up. Right now we’ve got a number of really nice dogs and a number of cats and even some really cool small pets that are available for adoption.” Lori Swanson, Executive Director, Thomas J O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center

According to Swanson, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are heading to the shelter. First, employees just want to get a sense of who you are, so bring the whole household if you can. Next, be prepared to spend some time at the shelter getting to know a pet. Also, keep an open mind, don’t get stuck on qualities like color or coat, you never know who will pull on your heartstrings.

In addition to being great companions, pets are also good for your health, They lower your blood pressure and help keep you active. Adults who walk their dogs, or cats, are less likely to be overweight. Other benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, stronger muscles and bones and decreased stress.

Don’t be afraid to cuddle up! Studies have shown that the majority of people sleep better because of their pets. There is no time like the present to get a pet. Shelters are well-stocked with plenty of animals waiting for loving homes and beyond that, you are doing something that’s healthy for both you and your family.