Animal liberation is a powerful Buddhist practice often done to prolong life when an untimely death is threatening. According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche in “Liberating Animals” (FPMT Practice book), the practice of liberating animals is primarily for prolonging life and the recitation of mantras is more for healing sickness and providing protection from the harmful beings that become conditions for certain diseases.
He goes on to say:
“It is best to liberate an animal that you are able to look after yourself. By feeding them every day, you perform the Dharma practice of giving charity and create much good karma, the cause of happiness.”
If you have been considering getting a pet, visit an animal pound/shelter and rescue an animal from death row. Dedicate this to Rinpoche’s health and long life, to those you know who have life obstacles, and to yourself and the animal you are rescuing. Everyday you not only get the benefit of having saved that life, you create merit by taking care of them, plus they get to hear Dharma from you!
If you cannot take on the responsibility of keeping a pet, perhaps you can contact your local animal rescue group to see if you can foster an animal. This way whilst they are in your care, you can give them as much Dharma as possible by circumambulating them around holy objects and reciting prayers and mantas to them. You can also sponsor animals or donate to animals in a shelter that have already been liberated but need ongoing care and protection to keep them safe.