While some dog owners pay big bucks to breeders for showcase breeds, others nobly rescue abandoned dogs in shelters. While this is an admirable act of love, potential adoptive shelter owners should do all they can to make the adoption a successful one.
The Advantages of Shelter Adoptions
First, you’ll be helping the shelter as you’re easing the burden of caring for one less dog. If you’ve ever visited an animal shelter, you know how overwhelming the job of shelter workers must be each day. All you have to do is look out at the sea of pitiful canine faces, begging, “Please take me home!”
For the dog, the best reason for adoption is that you’re rescuing a homeless dog from being put down, giving him (or her) a loving home.
And, as an adoptive owner, you’ll save money as it’s much cheaper. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a dog from a breeder or pet shop, you usually pay less than $100, which is not for profit, but covers the expense of running the shelter. In addition, you usually receive a health insurance policy, as well as free shots and a veterinarian exam (which you would have paid out of your own pocket if you didn’t adopt from a shelter.) What’s more, all pets are neutered or spayed before they’re considered adoptable, saving you more money.
Where Can You Find Shelters
Websites such as PetFinder.com provide links to pounds and shelters. There’s also the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals) web site that can you lead you to local shelters.
Safeguards of a Shelter Dog Adoption
If you’re worried about getting stuck with a dog with a bad disposition, relax. The ASPCA never adopts out any animal that’s considered dangerous or hostile. Loving volunteers who genuinely care about abandoned and/or abused animals usually run animal shelters. This gives you a clue of the good care shelter dogs receive before adoption. Surprisingly, many prospective adoptive owners even have a “home study” by a shelter volunteer to make sure a dog is getting a good home.
Tips for an Easier Adoption
Before even going to a shelter, do your homework. Visit the library or research on the internet for characteristics of different breeds. Shelters have both mixed and purebreds. Although it’s impossible to exactly predict what a dog will be like only based on his breed, you can still get a fairly good idea just from knowing the basic traits of a breed.
For example, if you don’t want any digging in your lawn, then don’t adopt a daschund. If a high-energy dog bothers you, then stay away from boxers or Jack Russell breeds (as well as mixes of the breeds). The more research you do beforehand, the better prepared you will be to make the right decision.
Most of all, before making a final decision, spend some time with the dog you wish to adopt by sitting down and playing with him. Besides making it easier for your pet to adjust to you, it also lets you see if he’s sociable, as well as healthy. If you note any problems, such as a disability or behavioral problem, talk with a shelter worker or veterinarian to get the proper resources for taking care of your pet. Don’t get discouraged if you feel you can’t adopt because you notice problems. There’s a dog that’s just right for you. Also, realize any successful adoption takes time and commitment, as well as love.
Originally published on Suite 101.