Adopting a dog can be life changing for both you and the furry friend in question and in some cases, in terms of dog rescue, the real question really is who is rescuing who. Dog lovers are undoubtedly aware of the impact that adopting a dog can have on someone, no matter their age or lifestyle however the whole notion of adopting an animal, especially a dog, can be overwhelming. You may be wondering how the process works, the expenditure involved, if you are cut out to adopt an animal and more! Our instructions below will help you understand how simple the process can be and more importantly, how beneficial the adoption will be for both you and your future pet!
Dogs of all ages and breeds can be adopted from a variety of locations such as rescue shelters, no-kill animal shelters and foster programs. Before you embark on our step by step journey on adopting a dog. Let us outline the differences between the various animal shelters which will allow you to make a more informed decision about where you want to adopt a dog from. Although there are always anomalies to the rule, you can either adopt a dog from a shelter or from a rescue.
The term 'Dog Shelter' or 'Pound' is an umbrella term for city/ county animal shelters, police and health departments, dog wardens and other independently run organizations or government offices. They are more often than not a physical facility with paid staff and operating hours. The easiest way to access a dog shelter is to simply turn up as most of them are under-staffed and over-worked. Rescues on the other hand, mostly keep pets at foster homes and are volunteer run. The adoption process usually differs from rescue center to rescue center however there is usually an interview process and an application form involved. Because rescue centers are mainly volunteer run, they can take longer to respond so remember to be patient when waiting on a reply!
Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages of adopting a dog from each of these systems. Shelters will give you the opportunity to chose from a wide range of dogs when you go to visit. Many shelters also tend to avoid strict screening processes and you will usually be able to take your chosen dog home on the very same day. On the other hand, rescue centers tend to have more information about each of the dogs on their register. The screening process is more intense however this is beneficial as it will help you to map your expectations as well as find a dog whose nature is the perfect fit for your family. In addition, rescue fees are usually higher however they often include vet care that would be more expensive if you went to the vet individually.
Step 1: Research Dog Breeds: Don’t make your choice based on appearance, research the nature of each breed! The personality of each dog and the type of care that they need varies primarily according to their breed. The first thing that you need to do here is match the nature of your dog to your activity level. If you enjoy relaxing at home then adopting a Jack Russel Terrier would be problematic. What's more, you should think about where your home is situated. Do you live in a small apartment or do you have acres of land surrounding your home? Larger dogs are able to live in smaller apartments but it is important that you dedicate enough time to giving them the exercise they need.
Step 2: Think About Dogs with Disabilities: Consider dogs who are physically injured, or emotionally/mentally disturbed! In reality this is step 1.5 however it's an important point so we gave it a step of its own! Just like humans, there are some dogs that need extra medical care as well as those that come from a background of abuse and need special therapy or training to overcome behavioral issues. Of course, we whole heartedly recommend adopting a dog that needs a bit of extra attention however it is imperative that you understand the needs of the dog before you commit to adopting it. If you are adopting from a rescue center, they will more often that not have more details about the needs of the specific dog. Remember, adopting a dog with exceptional health issues involves investing more time and money so make sure you are well informed before making such an important decision.
Step 3: Visit the Shelter/ Rescue Center: Remember to check the website before you visit! As we have mentioned previously, you will be able to visit a shelter without a previous appointment but it is wise to contact rescue centers before showing up. This is why we recommend checking out the website first! After visiting the shelter/ rescue center you will have a better idea about pet profiles, dog personalities and add your information to a call list incase the breed that you are after arrives.
Step 4: Make a Shopping List: Make a list of all the items you need to properly care for your dog! This will include appropriate food, water bowl, food bowl, a leash, a collar, toys, a dog bed, treats and more! If you are unsure of what to buy you can always check with your vet (Step 5).
Step 5: Find a Vet: Contact local vets in your area to inquire about experience with your dog's breed! Firstly, don’t be surprised if your rescue center or shelter asks you to set up a patient profile before they hand over your dog. They just want to make sure you are perfectly prepared for the arrival of your new pet. Vet's can also help you to build a wellness plan that include various visits and services including vaccines and health checks.
Step 6: Fill Out the Paperwork: Filling out the paperwork and paying the adoption fee are the final steps! It is important that as soon as you have a decision that you inform the adoption/ rescue center and confirm that the dog is yet to find a new home. The paperwork can be sent to your home and be prepared that it is sometimes quite a lengthy process. Don't lost patience! This is both for the benefit of your dog and yourself. In addition, you will have to pay an adoption fee. This covers the costs of rescuing and caring for the dog as well as any vaccinations they may have received. Contact the shelter before you arrive to verify which payment methods they accept.
Once you have completed the shelter's approval you will be able to introduce your pet to its new home. Remember to set up a convenient time to collect your new dog and ensure you have suitable transportation to get them home safe and sound.
In addition, we advise dog-proofing your house. Block stairs, cover trash cans and toilets and moving any fruit, vegetables or other food out of reach. Finally, and most importantly, enjoy!