Are you thinking about adopting a dog? Making the decision to adopt can have a potentially lifesaving impact for a dog that has been abused or abandoned.
Not to mention, it can be a life-changing decision for you, too. It’s possible to adopt a dog at any age, and numerous breeds are available for adoption at rescue centers, foster programs, non-profit organizations, and shelters. Read on to find out the steps you need to take in order to make a dog lacking a home part of your family.
Step 1: Choose A Breed
It’s important to narrow your search to a few types of breeds. Remember that dog breeds vary extensively in size, activity level, intelligence, and needs. You should consider your own activity level and any other potential constraints, such as living space or your schedule. If you have an apartment, you might want to consider a smaller breed. In addition, time is an issue, you might want to opt for an older dog who is already trained. You can read about dog breeds and their different needs, personality types, and activity levels online.
Step 2: Prepare To Adopt
Once you settle on a breed, it’s a good idea to prepare for the arrival of the dog. You will need to purchase food and care supplies before you bring your dog home. Some items to consider include: a leash, a collar, a nametag, food and water dishes, dog food, a dog bed, cleaning supplies, and chew toys. Locate a veterinarian and write down his or her contact information in case of an emergency.
Step 3: Contact Shelters or Rescue Centers
Contact local animal shelters, rescue centers, and animal foster programs to ask them about their adoption process, in addition to where their dogs come from. Dogs might be abandoned, or rescued from abusive situations. Others are lost and never claimed, while still others are given up when their families can no longer care for them. Use the information you are given to choose the organization where you will adopt your dog.
If you are looking for a puppy, they can be more difficult to find in a rescue center. While puppies are found in rescue centers, they are often picked up very quickly. It's good to do step 4 as soon as possible if a puppy is what you are looking for. When it comes to getting a puppy, you may need to be more flexible on breed. Many rescue puppies may be fully mixed breeds of dubious parentage. Sometimes, they can grow up to be a bit of a surprise, but sometimes those are the best dogs too!
Step 4: Get On The Wait List
If you are looking for a specific breed or specific breeds, ask to be put on the shelter’s waiting list. Most of the time, shelters will be willing to give you a call when a certain breed becomes available. If you find a dog in the meantime, make sure to remove your name from the list. If you’re okay with choosing from several different breeds, pay a visit to the shelter.
Step 5: When Your New Dog Comes Home
Make sure to get the appropriate veterinary care for your new animal. Some shelters and organizations offer free or discounted veterinary care, including necessary shots, when you adopt a pet.
Step 6: Train Your Dog, If Necessary
If the dog that you choose is a puppy, it will require training. Remember that puppies have a lot of energy, and they need proper training in order to grow into well-behaved dogs. Follow through with the training, and consider hiring a trainer or taking the dog to puppy school if you can’t commit as much time as necessary to the training. Remember that your puppy won’t be a puppy forever. At the age of three, most dogs are adults.