Adopting A Dog

Adopting a dog is often a better choice than purchasing a pet from a breeder or pet store. Millions of abandoned dogs pass through animal shelters every year, including mixed and purebreds. Dog adoption provides abandoned dogs with new homes, and gives you opportunity to adopt older dogs if you don”t want to raise and train a puppy.

Dog Adoption Tips

Adopting a dog isn”t a decision to take lightly. Depending on the age of your new pet, you could be caring for your dog for 10 to 20 years. Because adopting a dog is such a commitment, be sure you understand the responsibilities of dog adoption.

Before visiting local animal shelters, ask yourself these questions to pinpoint what you want in a dog:

Do you want a high-energy playmate or a sedate companion? Don”t assume size is an indication of energy levels: some large dogs are very laid back, while some smaller breeds are very high energy.

How much time are you willing to spend caring for your dog? Caring for a puppy requires almost as much time as caring for a newborn baby, while older dogs are generally more self-reliant. Adopting a dog that”s full-grown may mean your new pet is already housebroken and obedience trained. However, this is not always the case: Abandoned or abused dogs may have received little or no training and require extra patience.

How much grooming are you willing to perform? Some dog breeds require a daily groom. Shedding may also determine your dog adoption choices. Don”t assume long-haired dogs shed more than short-haired breeds: hair length is not an indication of how much a dog will shed. If you or someone in you family suffers from allergies, then shedding will affect your choice when adopting a dog. Ask at animal shelters for help selecting a dog.

How much living space will your new dog have? You may love big dogs, but if you”re living in a studio apartment, adopting a Great Dane isn”t an option. Many animal shelters will not approve a large dog adoption unless you have a fenced yard.

Will your dog be interacting with children or other pets? Considering a dog”s temperament is an important part of the adoption process. If you have children or other pets, you should avoid adopting a dog with aggressive tendencies. The staff at animal shelters can help you adopt a dog with a personality that matches your needs.

Abused Dogs

Some abandoned dogs have also been abused. Adopting an abused dog can be a rewarding experience, as your care slowly helps him heal emotionally. However, because abused dogs often need to be trained with extreme patience, caring for abused dogs requires previous experience with dogs. If you”re a first-time dog owner, an abused dog is most likely not the best dog adoption choice.

Adopting a Dog from an Animal Shelter

Adopting a dog from an animal shelter is usually an easy process. Once you find a dog that suits your needs, you fill out a dog adoption application and pay a donation to the animal shelter. Most animal shelters charge less than fifty dollars for a dog adoption.

Before turning over a dog, animal shelters require some assurances that you”re serious about adopting a dog. Most animal shelters expect the dog will be, for the most part, an indoor pet and that you will be the one caring for your dog. Shelters will not approve dog adoption as a gift.

Shelters also expect that you will provide regular veterinary care for the dog, including having

the dog spayed or neutered (some animal shelters provide spaying and neutering services and will also implant a microchip under the dog”s skin for ID purposes).

Dog Adoption and Rescue Societies

One difficulty with adopting a dog from an animal shelter is that most shelters operate under a “first come first served” policy. It”s possible some else may adopt your dog before you make your choice. Although it can sabotage your dog adoption plans, this policy helps animal shelters find as many homes for abandoned dogs as possible.

If you have a specific breed in mind or are just uncomfortable with the first come first served policy, you may prefer to adopt a dog through a volunteer foster organization or rescue society. Keep in mind that dog adoption takes longer through rescue societies than through animal shelters: the societies are dedicated to providing the best match between a dog and its new family.

Although their process is a bit longer, foster societies often have better information about a dog”s behavior and personal history than animal shelters. The society will require a home visit as part of the dog adoption process and usually insists that all family members spend time with the dog prior to adoption. The fee for dog adoption through foster societies ranges from $100 to $200 to cover the costs of caring for the dog.

Adopting a Dog through the Classifieds

Don”t forget to check the classified ads if you plan on adopting a dog. Dog owners seeking new homes for their dogs (and hoping to avoid having to surrender their pet to animal shelters) often advertise in the classifieds. In many cases the dog is free to a good home.

Dog Adoption Fact

About 25 percent of all abandoned dogs in animal shelters are purebreds.