If you’re thinking about giving a dog a home, you may like to adopt a rescue dog from an animal shelter.
Not only would you be doing the dog a big favor (chances are, you’ll have saved his life), but you’d be helping out the shelter enormously. All around the USA, animal shelter resources are stretched to their limits as they take in, and take care of, hundreds of rescue dogs every year.
Oh, and of course, you’d be doing yourself the biggest favor of all, as a dog can bring unconditional love and joy into your life like you wouldn’t believe!
Adopt a Rescue Dog That’s Right For You
If you’ve never visited a shelter, I would advise you to have a clear idea of the type of dog you’re looking for before you arrive. The sight of countless dogs, all yapping and wagging their tails as you approach their cages can be truly heart-wrenching and it’s all too easy to get carried away and choose a dog for all the wrong reasons, e.g.; his tail wagged the hardest, he looked the cutest, he barked the loudest, etc. etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for dogs and I’m always drawn to the dogs that I think nobody else will want. However, it’s equally important to make sure you’ve got the dog that is best suited to you and your home, as it is to give the dog a home in the first place.
For example, there’s no point in bringing home a dog that has a tendency to be a little snappy if you have young kids, or an enormous dog if you only have a small apartment, or an energetic dog if you have no outside space where it can run around or you’re not able to take it for three or four walks a day.
The best way to go is to speak to the staff at the animal shelter beforehand, and explain your requirements (if any) to them. They’ll know the characters of the majority of the dogs in their care, so they should be able to match you up with the dog that’ll be happy with you, and that you’ll be happy to have in your home.
You can expect to pay anything upwards of $70 if you want to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter. Here are some other points to consider before you do;
Before signing anything, make sure that you are aware of what the adoption fee includes. In the majority of cases, neutering or spaying will already have been carried out on an adult dog, but in the case of a puppy, you may have to wait until it’s a few weeks older. In such circumstances, the cost of this surgery is usually included in the fee, and all you will need to do is take the puppy to have the operation at the required time.
Don’t expect to walk into a shelter and walk out with a dog the same day. It is possible, but only if the dog you choose is ready to leave and certain criteria has been met.
This will vary from shelter to shelter, but usually, some or all of the following will need to be adhered to before the adoption can be completed;
Before you arrive at the shelter, it’s a good idea to check that you meet the minimum age requirement for adopting a dog. This can save a lot of heartache and embarrassment.
You will most likely need to provide two forms of ID, one of which is a government issued form of photo ID (e.g.; driver’s license, state identification card, military ID, etc) and the second is evidence of your current address (e.g.; utility, telephone or cable TV bill).
Be sure to have with you the name, address and telephone number of someone who can give you a personal reference, should it be required, as the shelter may wish to contact this person by ‘phone while you wait.
If you rent your home, you’ll need to provide written permission from your landlord that it’s OK for you to have a dog.
If you have another dog, you may want to take it along with you, so that you, and the staff at the shelter can see, first-hand, if it’s going to get along with the dog you choose.
Likewise, it’s a good idea for everyone who lives in the house to go along to the shelter to choose a dog together.
You may even be required to allow someone to come and inspect your home before the dog will be released to you, although this usually only applies to speciality or large breeds.
On the other hand …… you may also be asked to complete a detailed form, giving all manner of information, from the type of accommodation you live in, to whether you are fully committed to always taking care of, and providing a safe home for your adopted dog, regardless of any expense this may incur. Typical expenses would include food, outdoor shelter (if necessary), dog license, leash and collar, veterinarian bills, grooming and coat clipping, etc.
You will then be asked to leave the form at the shelter until your details have been thoroughly assessed, and your request for adoption has been given due consideration. If you are considered to be a suitable adopter, you will get a call advising you of what happens next.
You may wonder why all this is necessary.
Well, when you consider the number of dogs who are abandoned every day, you’ll appreciate the importance of establishing the suitability of anybody who wants to adopt one.
Unfortunately, when they’re excited and eager to get a dog, too many people don’t look ahead long-term to what that actually entails.
Bringing a dog into your home will change its life and your life, and it’s a long-term commitment. A dog will look to its owner(s) for love, care, food, exercise and security, and unless a person can prove that they will provide these things, the chances of them walking out of a shelter with a dog any time soon are pretty slim.
It’s not easy to adopt a rescue dog, but if you’re not put off by all the necessary red tape, and you can give a dog a good life, then you’re already halfway to bringing your new pal home!