Adopting a dog from an animal shelter saves an animal from death and provides you with a faithful companion for many years. Animal shelter take great pains to ensure that the animals that they put up for adoption are physically healthy and temperamentally sound. They can help you find the right dog for your lifestyle and family composition. Though the process may seem rigorous and lengthy for a simple adoption of a pet, it helps to ensure that the match between animal and owner is appropriate for both parties.
Choosing A Dog
The thoughtful selection of a dog is an important part of the adoption process. Decisions about puppy or adult dog, long-haired or short, large dog or small should all be given careful consideration. You may not have the space needed for a large dog. It may be that you don’t have time to do the daily maintenance a long-haired dog needs. You may not be at home enough to do the training a puppy requires. These practical considerations will help you to find a good match for your lifestyle.
The Adoption Process
Most animal shelters require that potential adopters fill out an application with personal information such as name, address, phone number and work number. The application may also ask somewhat personal questions such as how many people in the household and their ages, whether other pets are in the home, how many hours you usually work each week and whether you have any experience caring for dogs. Though these questions may seem intrusive, the answers help the adoption counselor to find the right type of dog for you and your household. For instance, if you have young children at home, the counselor will steer you toward a dog that is known to be good with younger children. Other dogs may be better for homes with older children. Though you may have a particular type of dog in mind, take your counselor’s advice. He has had much experience matching dogs and owners together and can help find a successful match.
Spend Time With the Dog
Once you have determined the right dog, ensure that you spend time with the dog in the shelter’s play area. Note the general health of the dog or any physical problems such as eye or ear discharge or weakness in the back legs. Do not accept any dog that is in poor health or bad condition. These animals can cost a great deal of money in veterinarian’s bills. Get to know the dog’s reactions. Note if the dog is friendly and open to physical contact. Notice if the dog hand is hand shy or fearful of your approach. If you feel the dog is not right for you for whatever reason, let your adoption counselor know. The counselor will try to find another dog with the best characteristics for your situation.
Taking the Dog Home
Once you have the right dog—generally, the one who has stolen your heart from hello—you will be asked to sign some papers to complete the adoption. These papers will also commit to spaying or neutering the dog, if this procedure has not yet been done. Generally, animal shelters provide low-cost or no-cost spaying when the puppy is old enough for this operation. You will be asked to bring the puppy back when he has reached the right age. Older dogs may already be spayed or neutered when you adopt them. The shelter may also provide you with a few basic items for the dog, such as a bowl, starter food, leash and dog toy. You will probably need more pet items, but first take your new family member home and see that he is comfortable in his new surroundings.
Basic Dog Care
Ensure that you offer your new companion a high-quality dog food suitable for his age and have water available at all times. Take the dog outdoors to do his business every few hours until he becomes accustomed to his new outdoor area. Always keep your dog on leash for walks. Have the dog examined by a veterinarian to ensure that he is healthy and free of pests and diseases. Take your dog in for regular immunizations. Spend time daily grooming and playing with your dog. You will undoubtedly find that adopting a dog from an animal shelter has enriched your life as much as you have enriched his.