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What You Should Know About Adopting From a Shelter
The idea of adopting a shelter dog can be just as exciting as it is daunting. There are so many needy dogs waiting to be selected by new, loving owners. Before you take a dog home from ANYWHERE you should be committed.
Are you and your family prepared to make the 10-15 year commitment to your dog’s life? Can you provide all he needs in this time? Will you be there when he is old and sick? These are things any would-be pet owner should consider. If you feel ready, let’s walk into the wonderful world of adopting from a shelter.
The Adoption Process
One thing prospective dog owners are surprised by is the adoption process. You do not simply walk into a shelter, pick a dog, and go on your way. Most animal shelters require an application for the specific dog you are interested in. These applications usually include references, information about income, housing situations, and veterinary care.
You may even need to prepare for an in-home inspection by a shelter worker. If you are in a rental house or apartment, you may be required to show proof that dogs are allowed in your home. This process ensures the animals that leave the shelter are taken care of by loving and well-prepared owners.
Not all Shelter Dogs are Beautiful
Most people looking to adopt are looking for the young and adorable. I myself have been in the situation where I show up at a shelter with my heart and mind set on only getting a puppy. Some pre-owners are quick to overlook dogs with a more homely appearance.
Puppies and “cute” dogs are generally adopted quickly. It is unfortunate that the old and “ugly” get left in the dust. What I am trying to get at is don’t judge a book by its cover. Many shelters resort to euthanasia for animals that are in the shelter too long. It is heartwarming to see the sweet five-year-old mongrel get a chance at a loving home.
You Need to Know the Dog’s History
If you have your heart set on a particular pet, be sure to ask the staff as many questions as you can about him. Does he like children? How is he with other animals? Is he housebroken? How is his health? These are all things you should ask before bringing a dog home.
The more you know about your dream pet, the better you can provide what he needs in his life. Some shelter dogs can be a bit fearful of others if they haven’t been socialized or if they have been abused. These animals are usually better suited for a one person family or a couple without children. Just think, you could be the one to change the life of a dog with a sad past.
The Wonderful Option of Pet-Fostering
Many shelters have foster programs for their shelter animals. This is a great way for shelters to free up space and reduce the amount of euthanasia they must administer. This is a beautiful option for those who want to help out.
While you are caring for the dog, the shelter staff will be asking you questions. As the dog becomes more comfortable, you get to learn about their personality, temperament, and health. This helps the shelter staff match them with the best pet owner possible. Who knows? You might even fall in love and adopt one of your foster pets!
Adopting From a Shelter Can Change Your Life
Some of the best friends I’ve known in my life have been my pets. The unconditional love between dog and owner is a special and unique experience. As life changing as bringing a new pet into your home can be, it is even more so for your rescue.
Adopting from a shelter saves a sweet furry life from living in a cage waiting to be loved. I greatly encourage people to consider adoption from a shelter before looking into any other “dog-buying” option. Have fun looking for the next addition to your family and I wish you the best of luck!
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