Considering a dog is a big decision, and one thing you’ll likely consider when going over your options is adoption. Adopting is a noble route to take and is encouraged by many. However, in other circles, there are some negative connotations that can come with adopting, whether it be from a shelter or not.
Let’s go over some basics when looking to adopt a dog, including where to look and what to ask.
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Shelter Adoptions: Fighting the Stereotype
You’ve surely heard the narrative surrounding some shelters and shelter dogs. Although unfairly, some of these dogs are viewed as “dangerous”. The reality is a small majority of dogs in shelters have ended up there by way of a troubled past. They could have been abandoned, abused and developed a distrust for humans. This, coupled with the fact that they have been in a form of dog “jail” for a period of time, affects their psyche. A percentage of shelter dogs may fit this profile, but this situation can be much more unlikely than you may think.
Adopting from a shelter can be an unbelievably rewarding experience for both human and canine. Most of these dogs are the same sweet souls they have always been, yearning for a loving home. In some cases, you are saving their life in a very real way. And as many will confirm, saving lives goes both ways in some scenarios. The point is, don’t be deterred by the negative stereotypes that can surround shelters and shelter dogs. You may be glad you gave it a chance!
Another form of adoption is going through a private seller. While this isn’t necessarily equivalent to adopting a shelter dog, it is still impactful. Some dog owners will surprisingly or unsurprisingly have a litter of puppies on their hands. In fact, some people do this as a form of income (breeders). Depending on the person, they cannot or do not care to keep an entire litter of puppies. Or they’re in it 100% to sell them off and make money, not concerned with what happens to the puppies. So, they take to the internet and put advertisements up.
This may feel like a watered-down version of adopting through a shelter. But the fact is, if these puppies that are being sold or given away do not end up finding a loving home, where do you think they end up? A shelter. Some are met with an even graver fate. If you can’t find a good companion at your local shelter, private adoption can be another option for you.
Questions to Ask
Whenever you’re looking into adoption, thorough research becomes even more essential. It’s important to ask the shelter or private seller for a detailed history and analysis of your potential new friend. Past owners, known illnesses, personality, etc. This is a sort of crass analogy, but it’s similar to the mindset you might have when purchasing a new or used car. Obviously, dogs are living creatures and their history is far more important than a car, but you get the point. And even if a potential adoptee seems a little standoffish at first, that doesn’t mean that’s their true personality. Like we discussed earlier, some of these dogs may have a mixed past, or are struggling with their current surroundings, being in a shelter. Once removed from that shelter environment, as they start to trust you, their shyness will often start to disappear, despite their initial apprehension.
The Right Fit
Whatever route you decide to take, choose a dog that’s right for you. Some people have children and family to consider, some don’t. Some want a very active dog, some don’t. Although it’s hard to make a “wrong” choice, it’s important to do your research and choose a dog who will fit your situation and more importantly, be happy.
The fact remains, adopting a dog can be a life changing and rewarding experience for all involved.