How to Adopt a Dog

How to Adopt a Dog

a black and white spotted dog with his paws on the bars of a cage

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If you’ve been dreaming of walkies and fetch games lately, stand in line. Adoption rates increased exponentially in the spring at many animal shelters as people across the country were preparing to shelter locally and wanted a dog to give them an excuse to see the sun twice per day (and a new buddy, of course). On Petfinder.com, for example, adoption requests jumped 122% between March 15 and April 15, compared to the previous four weeks. Requests for foster care also increased, as more and more people ended up with much more time for puppies.

Depending on your location, this could mean that your adoption or your foster trip may require patience. Small shelters or independent relief organizations do not always have the infrastructure to process requests quickly. Not to mention, all the shelters, rescues and foster parents of puppies had to implement new protocols for the screening and meeting of future parents of pets. But you do not have to turn your thumbs while waiting for your application to be accepted. Here’s what the experts say you will need before you bring Fido to his furless home.

Compile a list of options

Let’s face it, many diehard dog lovers already have a handful of adoption agencies bookmarked online or in their social media queues. But if you spend less time browsing fur faces online than the rest of us, compile a list of 8-10 shelters or rescue organizations near you. Look for 501 (c) (3) nonprofits and do due diligence on their website, social media, and anything else you can find to make sure your puppy comes from a place that treats well. its animals and supplies them ethically. . Websites like PetFinder and Adopt-a-Pet can help you connect with lists of pets at nearby shelters and rescue organizations.

In addition to giving homeless animals a new start, shelters and rescue organizers can offer a better overview of your new friend and how they will fit into your home, says Rena Lafaille, Director of Administration at the ASPCA Adoption Center. “The adoption of animals in a shelter has a huge advantage: the staff of the shelter knows the animals well and can provide detailed information on the history, the medical needs, the behavior and the temperament of an animal”, notes Lafaille. “They also take into account the lifestyle of a potential adopter, the family environment and the potential compatibility of the animal with the children and other animals in the house in order to make suitable matches.”

Go ahead with your eyes open

Before you even fill out applications for your new Fluffy or Fido, call a home meeting. Even if you live with roommates or plan to take care of his solo, everyone who lives with you will need to be prepared to bring an animal home. Setting expectations now – like planning meal times, cleaning, and play schedules – can put everyone on the same page. Then it’s time to start scrolling.

Because many shelter puppies have a mix of breeds in their family tree, the founder of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue Sue Bell encourages adopters to focus less on the breed than on a few key traits. The most important factors to consider are:

  • energy level
  • pruning at maturity
  • tolerance to other animals and children
  • noise level, especially if you live in an apartment

    Lafaille advises adopters to ask the shelter staff a lot of questions, because they know their animal population best. “Shelter staff have expertise in successful twinning and can help prospective adopters decide if an animal has a good personality and a good lifestyle. At home,” she says.

    Bell also notes that shelters are a stressful place for many dogs, so they can be shy or temperamental at first. And don’t judge a pet by its initial impression – my pit bull knocked me over in the snow the first time we met, but now it’s the sweetest giant you’d want to meet.

    Get the right equipment

    Before you even bring your new puppy home, Bell recommends having a few essentials on hand. First, make sure your home is dog-proof, especially if you are hosting a puppy. Make sure your cabinets and all exterior escape routes are secure and keep all cords or wires, toys, decorative items or shoes away from the chewing distance. You will also want to get a veterinarian for your pet; the rescue or host family can often recommend one. A veterinarian can also recommend good food that matches your pet’s level of development, nutritional needs and lifestyle.

    Start them off with a chewable Kong or other, but don’t get too monkey in the toy aisle until you have an idea of ​​the type of toys your puppy prefers. Bell also recommends bringing them home on a martingdale harness or collar, which tightens around the neck without the chain-like choking effect. This will prevent them from sliding off a standard collar, if they decide to take a break for it.

    Prepare for the long term

    Even if you have decided to adopt a dog because you are more at home at the moment, remember that this will not always be the case. Bell recommends checkout training so that they have a safe and secure place to relax both while you are away and whenever they need time. “We suggest that you leave your pet alone several times a day for varying periods of time,” says Bell. “Dogs resume their habits very quickly, so put the dog in the crate at several different times, for times ranging from 5 minutes to a few hours, when they can see you, when they can’t see you – and always put a favorite toy or safe chew toy with them. ”

    And if you’re looking for a pet now, but aren’t sure if you can pull the trigger forever, consider favoring it. “The host family can give you the opportunity to change the life of an animal on its own for the better and is a rewarding experience for those who choose to become caregivers,” says Lafaille. “There is no place like a loving home to accustom a dog or cat to the sights, sounds and experiences that will prepare them for successful future adoption.”

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