Some people steer clear of shelters or rescues because they believe the dogs there aren’t good dogs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
- While many dogs are surrendered for behavior problems, the vast majority of those problems could have been prevented, and can be treated, with training, attention, and exercise.
- Many dogs are surrendered because of a family’s change in circumstances — a move, financial loss, illness, blending of families — and not because of the dog.
- Some people don’t realize how much time and work puppies, and even adult dogs, require and become fed up with the responsibility.
Shelters house animals available for adoption as well as strays. Usually they’re at least partially funded by the city, but some are completely dependent on private donations.
The quality of shelters varies dramatically, depending on where it’s located. Some shelters provide basic medical care, training, and spay/neutering. Others are more like holding pens than shelters and don’t bother with the kind of care experts believe is essential to a dog’s well-being, like a daily walk.
- The population of available dogs usually changes quickly and regularly.
- At the best shelters, the staff takes notes, and sometimes posts them, on how the dog is doing. Some shelters do extensive tests to gauge a dog’s personality and what sort of home would be the best fit. Many more shelters do not, and you’re on your own. (See choosing a shelter dog or puppy.
- Some shelters allow people to put a hold on dogs they want to adopt. Before you lose your heart to a dog, make sure someone else doesn’t already have a claim on him.
- Some shelters euthanize animals when overcrowded. Many no-kill shelters will only accept dogs believed to be adoptable, i.e., those who don’t have aggression or health problems, and tend to be younger.
- If you’re interested in a dog, make sure you ask how much longer he has at the shelter. That is, do you have a long time to make your decision, or is euthanasia scheduled in two days?
Rescue groups are organizations that take dogs out of shelters and keep them in foster homes, and sometimes private kennels, until homes can be found. Some are breed-specific, while others take all types of dogs. Overall, they tend to give the dogs more medical and behavioral care than many shelters.
- Dogs are happier in foster homes than in shelters so it’s easier to assess his personality.
- You can get a good idea of the dog’s temperament and habits from the foster family, since they live with him.
- The dog is not likely to be euthanized, unless he displays a serious aggression or health issue.
- These groups often have adoption events at public places such as pet supply stores, so you can drop by and meet several dogs. If you’re interested in a specific dog you’ve seen on the group’s website, you can ask for that dog to be brought to the event.