Archive for November, 2009

The Benefits of Adopting From A Shelter

Monday, November 9th, 2009

When you’re at your local pet shelter looking at the animals, time your visit to watch for the dog’s personality. Get it out of the cage and interact with it and watch how it interacts with other dogs and people. There’s no rule that says you have to adopt today, so take your time to visit a few shelters and spend time with the animals before choosing the one that you will make part of your family. Remember, it’s a long-term commitment to add a pet to your family, so the decision needs to be taken seriously and with care. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find the dog of your dreams on your first visit to the shelter. Shelters receive new animals daily and they can put you on a waiting list and can call you when they receive the type of dog that you’re looking for.

Animal shelters have a great selection of both puppies as well as adult dogs, including about 25-30% purebred animals. Some of the reasons pets have been abandoned at the shelter include financial difficulties by the previous owner, a prior owner who didn’t have realistic expectations of the time and effort required to sustain a lifelong relationship with their pet and others. It’s sad, but almost half of the dogs in shelters end up being euthanized rather than adopted because not enough people are opening up their homes for these abandoned animals.

Animal shelters vary in terms of their rules for adoption. They will ask you questions about prior pet history, what type of living arrangements you have (apartment, house with yard, etc.), how long the periods are that you’re gone from home, and so forth. They may even ask you for references or establish a waiting period before you can take the dog home with you.

Your pet, if not already spayed or neutered, will have to have that done before you can take it home with you. Additionally, your new pet will require a complete examination and all required vaccinations before it can be released.

Adoption fees run anywhere from $40 to $125 plus the cost of spaying, neutering, shots, and microchip insertion, if requested. Shelter adoptions are much less expensive than buying a dog from a pet store or breeder. You should exercise some caution if you respond to an advertisement giving away free puppies.

The pet adoption experience varies at different types of shelters, so take the time to search ASPCA and Humane Society of the U.S (HSUS) websites for listings of shelters and humane societies near you. Shelters are generally limited-stay facilities, sometimes government-funded and may have fostering programs. Humane societies are private, non-profit organizations that generally include education, veterinary care, obedience training and other related programs in their mission. If you’re interested in a specific type or breed of dog or cat, consider looking for a rescue group. These groups specialize and often keep animals in foster homes.

Because they want animal adoptions to be permanent and not wind up with animals being abandoned for a second time, shelters often provide adoption counseling. They may even offer other assistance such as obedience training, behavior counseling, and medical services.

If you plan on bringing a dog home from the shelter, prepare your house ahead of time. Sort of like childproofing, you may need to dog-proof your house until your new pet gets settled in. Additionally, you’ll want to bring a collar, leash, and pet carrier with you in order to safely transport your new dog home.

Adopting a dog from an animal shelter can be a rewarding experience.

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