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How to Find a Reputable Dog Shelter
Considering adopting a puppy or grown dog but don’t know where to begin? We’ve got you covered with these easy-to-follow steps for finding a reputable pet rescue in your area.
Step 1: Start with an Online Search
The first step when considering adopting a rescue dog is to find a reputable shelter in your area. One of the best places to start is with an online pet adoption search tool such as Petfinder or Adopt-a-Pet. These search engines allow potential pet parents to filter search results by age, breed, location, special needs, and more to find the right companion for any family.
Step 2: Visit the Dog Shelter
After completing a cursory online search, the next step is visiting the shelter. Visiting the shelter allows potential adopters to meet pets face to face and potential pet parents to confirm the validity of the shelter’s mission.
When visiting a shelter, here is what to be on the lookout for:
- Does every pet have access to clean, fresh drinking water and nutritious, high-quality food?
- Are the pets in the shelter free from visible parasites like fleas and ticks?
- Are the pets fully vaccinated?
- Are theirt pets provided with daily enrichment activities like play groups with other dogs,walks, and access to toys?
- Is there a staff available on-site to answer any questions potential adopters have?
In addition to these basic necessities for keeping pets happy and healthy, sometimes shelters offer extended services like adoption counseling, behavioral training and counseling, onsite low-cost veterinary care, post-adoption services, and more.
Step 3: Ask Questions
Potential adopters interested in bringing a new dog home should be encouraged to ask questions to adoption counselors or other staff members about the adoption process like what the steps of the adoption process are, how much the cost of the adoption fee is, what kind of dog would work best for the adopter’s lifestyle, and more. Reputable shelters should be able to answer all these questions and more to make pet parents feel at ease and informed when bringing home a new furry friend.
Choosing the Right Dog for Your Home
Now that you’ve identified a reputable shelter, it’s time to consider which dog would suit your lifestyle. When considering adopting a pet, potential owners should ask themselves the following questions before bringing a new dog into their life:
- How much time can I commit to playing, exercising, and enrichment for a dog each day?
- What is my lifestyle like now, and what are my expectations for adopting a new dog?
- Am I in a place to financially care for a pet on a routine basis?
- Can I commit to house training and dealing with other behavioral needs?
- Does my apartment/landlord/rental space allow animals?
- Will my other pets get along with a new canine companion?
- Am I able to care for a pet with special needs?
Adopting a dog is a lifelong commitment. Each dog has a different personality, background, and needs. So it’s best to be well-informed before choosing a dog to bring home.
Bringing Home a New Rescue Dog
Once you’ve chosen your new canine companion, helping them feel comfortable during their adjustment period is important to their success in a new home. New adopters can take a number of steps to ensure their doggy feels safe, comfortable, and cared for in their new home.
Rule of Threes
The Rule of Threes is a guideline for pet parents on what to expect at 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months following the adoption of their new rescue dog.
According to the 3-3-3 rule, a rescue dog’s first three days in its new home can be rough as the dog adjusts to their new environment. Dogs crave routine, and any change to that routine can cause stress in dogs. During the first few days of arrival in a new home, dogs sometimes oversleep or are more active than usual.
After the initial three-day period, dogs will begin to get into a routine and become more familiar with their new surroundings and schedule. After about three weeks, most dogs come out of their shell and show their true personality.
Most dogs have developed a daily routine and bonded with their new owners at the three-month mark. After this period, a rescue dog comes to view his new family and surroundings as his home, forming a lifelong bond between the dog and the owner.
With more than three million dogs in shelters across the US, there’s no better time than now to consider adding a new pet to your family. With the right tools, support, and patience, adding a four-legged family member can bring endless joy and happiness to any household. As the saying goes, “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”