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What to Expect When You’re Adopting

April 13, 2014

adoptWith the overpopulation in shelters around the country and the high rates of euthanization, adopting a dog through a rescue group is a great choice. But how does it work and where do you start? Let’s break it down…

Do your research.  First things first, think about what kind of dog you want and how the dog will fit into your life. Are you the athletic type who needs a good jogging partner? Or maybe a laid back cuddle buddy is more your speed. Also think about your living situation and how a new dog will fit into your lifestyle. If you live in an apartment, check with the property for any breed or weight restrictions they may have. Keep in mind that the dog will need to be taken out for regular potty breaks and exercise – rain or shine!

Start browsing. The Internet now makes it easier than ever to find dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds! If you already have a favorite rescue group in mind, go to their website, check out their upcoming adoption events, and browse the dogs they have available. If not, Petfinder and Adopt a Pet are both excellent websites to try. Both collaborate with different rescues all over the country to create mega adoption databases. Not only can you narrow your search by location, but also by breed, sex, and age.

Reach out. Once you’ve found a dog or even rescue group you are interested in, fill out the application online or use the contact form to get in touch. Don’t be shy! The application is not an adoption contract and the questions are designed to learn more about you to ensure a great fit for the dog and your family. Remember the dogs are generally in foster homes and those foster parents can tell you a lot about the dog’s personality. Don’t get discouraged if the dog you like isn’t the right fit, the rescue will be more than happy to recommend a few more suited to your lifestyle. **Note: most rescues are operated solely by volunteers so you may not receive an immediate reply. I recommend allowing 48 hours for response.

The home visit. After you have filled out the application, most rescues will conduct a home visit. Don’t let this intimidate you or scare you off. The home visit is about interacting with the dog and introducing him to the environment along with any other animals already in it. I’ll let you in on a little secret: rescue volunteers honestly won’t notice the dust on your shelves or the wine stain on your carpet. They just want to make sure your home is safe/secure and you are prepared. Be sure to patch any gaps/holes in your fence and have toys along with collar and leash ready for the dog’s visit. To really shine for the home visit, have a doggie bed or kennel set up! In most cases, this is when you will sign the adoption contract and pay the adoption fee/donation. They will likely hold the contract and fee while the dog spends a few days in your home to ensure the perfect fit before the adoption is filed and finalized.

And there you have it! See? That’s not so bad. Now all you have to do is love your new companion!  Oh, and be sure to keep in touch with your rescue contact by sending updates and pictures. I can assure you, they will LOVE it.




From → Life Plus Dogs

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