If you are thinking about getting a dog as a family pet, then you might want to consider choosing a rescue dog. Dogs end up in a shelter for all kinds of reasons, many of them not the fault of the animal but of their owner’s changed circumstances.
When to Visit
You should always telephone your local animal shelter to find out when would be the best time to visit. Shelters can get very busy at weekends and bank holidays so they might ask you to visit during the week. Day times may be preferable to evenings for shelter staff and they will appreciate it if you try to fit in with their preferred visiting times.
Animal shelters can be sad places and it’s all too easy to want to adopt the first dog that you see – this is a mistake. Before you visit your local shelter you should have some idea of the type of dog you would prefer. If you have a young family then you will want a pet that is used to living in a family atmosphere – similarly if you have other pets you should look for a dog that is used to living with other animals.
What to Expect
Most shelters will have their own systems for assessing those people who want to adopt one of the dogs; some may expect you to apply online, while others will provide an extensive questionnaire when you arrive. You may find some of the questions that are asked a bit intrusive, but they do need to know as much as possible about you and your circumstances. The information you supply could help shelter staff to guide you towards the most suitable dogs for you.
Shelters differ in their ways of dealing with potential adopters; some will take you round the shelter and let you choose a dog that you would like to get to know. Bigger shelters with a greater number of staff may look at the details that you provide and then attempt to find what they believe would be a suitable pet for you.
A staff member will usually bring the dog out to you and often give you a bit of time together in one of the runs. Don’t expect to take the dog home with you as there will be more paperwork to fill out and most shelters like to visit you at your home before releasing an animal into your care.
Many shelter dogs will already have been vaccinated and will generally have a clean bill of health before they leave the shelter. Some dogs develop what is referred to as kennel cough but this generally clears up within a few days. Don’t choose a puppy or very young dog if you are not fit enough to provide them with the amount of exercise that they will need. Make sure that you are well prepared for the great day when you can take your dog home. Show your dog his bed and his food and water bowls and let it have a good look round its new home.
This article was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of House Of Paws. Take a look at their site by clicking this link.