Monday, February 6, 2017

Adopting Your New Dog From A Shelter

Animal shelters can be filled with animals that may become cherished pets for my many families. Animal shelters help match the animals to new responsible owners. Most shelters have both dogs and cats, of various ages. Some of the animals in the shelters may be purebred. Maybe, you may happen to find a nice Chihuahua, if that is the breed you are looking for at this time. Many animals in the shelters may have good behavior and habits. Shelter animals are in need of new homes with owners that want to care for them and bring them into their family. 

The staff that work in the shelters are usually very dedicated and they help find good homes for a variety of animals. There are several reasons listed below why animals may be in a shelter. 

Possibly their original owners were not able or uninterested in caring for them anymore.

Their previous owner could no longer financially afford the basic maintenance required for the dog.

There may have been a change in the household: children may not have gotten along with the dog, or maybe there was just a new baby born in the family; or there was a divorce, or a death or major illness in the family. 

Possibly the family needed to move and they were not allowed to have a dog in their new apartment complex or townhouse due to rules and regulations.

Change in lifestyle: employment and career changes may have included more traveling away from home or a major shift change or lots of overtime hours in their work schedule. Or the family realized they just did not have the necessary time required for a dog.

Medical reasons: someone in the family developed allergies to the dog or experienced a major, chronic health condition and was no longer able to properly care for their pet.

Possibly the dog had some behavioral problems.

The dog could have experienced some training problems, such as house training issues.

Possibly the dog was a homeless stray dog or unfortunately he may have come from an abusive situation.

Some shelters may provide an evaluation, which includes a history of animal health and behavior at their prior home, and a veterinary exam and screening. If you get a pet from the shelter, it would be helpful if you could obtain a written copy of the evaluation and any veterinary health records to keep, if at all possible.

Before you go to the shelter or anywhere to get a dog, there are some important things to think about when deciding if you should get a dog. 

1. Did you do any research on the the type of dog or breed that you would be interested in? When you see all of the animals in need of good homes at the shelter, it may seem a little overwhelming. You should decide on some characteristics you are looking for in a dog, such as the size of the dog, the temperament, age, male or female, and any grooming needs.

2. Do you have enough time available each day to be able to properly care for a dog? Do you have enough patience and motivation for training your dog and helping him get the proper exercise, healthy diet, and any necessary grooming?

3. Are you ready and committed to take care of a dog and have him with your family for many years to come?

4. If there are children in your family are they old enough to understand about the proper treatment and responsibility of safely caring for a dog?

5. Are you able to afford the veterinary health checks and proper food for a healthy and nutritious diet for your dog?

6. Do you have a safe and comfortable place to keep your dog when you are temporarily not at home for a few hours, such as when you might be at your place of employment, or doing your grocery shopping, or doing necessary errands?

7. Do you know what dog or puppy supplies that you might need to bring a new puppy or adult dog into your home to keep him comfortable, healthy and safe? 

If you definitely know that you want to adopt a dog from the shelter, then here are a few things you may want to consider when choosing a dog. 

The age of the puppy or adult dog.

Does the dog have a nice temperament?

Is the dog successfully house trained?

Has the dog been spayed or neutered?

Does the dog have any pre-existing or ongoing health problems?

Is the dog up-to-date with his vaccinations?

Does the dog get along well with children and other dogs?

Does the dog have any pre-existing behavior problems, such as aggressiveness?

How much prior training did the dog have in their previous home?

Does the dog look properly nourished?

Next, I will list a few steps that may be part of the adoption process.

Filling out an application

Choosing your pet

Signing a contract (the adoption contract may possibly have provisions such as the following: you will provide good housing, nutrition and health care for your new pet, and also you will return the animal to the shelter if you can no longer take care of him.)

Paying a fee (generally less expensive than buying a pet from a breeder or pet store)

It can be a very rewarding experience to adopt a dog from a shelter. People are so glad they could save a life of an animal by providing them a good, safe home with lots of love. Remember that animals in shelters have had some stress. They may deeply miss their owner who had to give them up and their previous home environment. They more than likely will welcome your patience, affection, guidance and love. Hopefully, you will choose a dog that fits your lifestyle. And maybe you could even find a nice Poodle in the shelter.

If you are bringing a new dog home you may be thinking about some specific items that you may be shopping for to make the transition easy for you and your dog in his new home. For example, your dog will need an appropriate place to play and sleep and he will also need some items for daily maintenance. The following list includes specific items that some people may think about and consider when getting a new dog.

Feeding and Water dishes

Appropriate dog food and treats 

Dog brushes and combs

Appropriate dog collar and leashes

Possibly a dog pen

Safe dog toys 

Safe and comfortable dog bed and dog blanket

Dog shampoo

Dog nametag or ID 

If your dog is quiet and shy, just allow for some extra time for him to adjust to his new life. If you take good care of him and show him positive attention and love, he will probably be very devoted to you forever!