A case for adult dogs

When looking for canine companionship, people often opt for a puppy because, well, they’re so darn cute. But many also believe adult dogs who’ve been abandoned or surrendered to shelters are somehow too damaged to make good family pets.

Nonsense. The shelters are bursting with perfectly good dogs who need a little of your tender loving care to make them beloved members of your family — if only people would give them a chance.

Myth: You won’t bond as well if you haven’t raised the dog yourself.
Reality: Not so. Any age dog can grow very attached to his person, often very quickly. What’s more, you’ll know just how affectionate your adult dog is when you adopt him, whereas an affectionate puppy may turn into an aloof adult.

Myth: Adult dogs up for adoption must have problems.
Reality: Dogs are abandoned for all sorts of reasons and most of the time it has nothing to do with the dog. The number one reason given for surrendering a dog is “moving.” Another is “no time.” While this means many shelter dogs arrive without the training they should have gotten, most problems are treatable. The ones with the most serious problems generally aren’t offered for adoption.

Myth: If I get an adult dog, I can only get a mutt.
Reality: In fact, 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebreds, and many breed rescue groups have purebreds looking for homes. If your heart is set on a particular breed, chances are good you can find an adult dog. But — we have to ask — why wouldn’t you want a mutt?

Still wondering?

If you’re still trying to decide whether to adopt an adult dog, consider the advantage of knowing what you’re getting. With an adult you generally know if he’s good with kids, or makes a good running companion, or isn’t too barky. Puppiness is adorable, to be sure, but it often masks a dog’s true personality.