Before you run to your local shelter or spend a lot of time looking online for the perfect rescue dog, ask yourself if you’re really ready for a new furry family member. For instance, can you afford to care for a cat or dog for the next 10 years — or even longer? Is this the best time of year for you to get an animal? Will a new pet fit in with your family’s lifestyle? If you can answer these questions and know that you’re ready for a shelter pet, then it’s time for the next step: research.
To find the perfect shelter pup for you and your family, you’ll need to do some research. A great place to start is our dog breed directory, where you can browse more than 200 dog breed profiles. After that, check out petfinder.com or adoptapet.com to find dogs in your area who need homes.
Shelter pets are not damaged goods. People often assume that animals end up in shelters because there is something wrong with their temperament, health or behavior. But often that’s not the case. There are many reasons animals end up in shelters, and they often have to do with the humans, not the pets. You also might have heard that rescues won’t have the kind of pet you’re looking for. But if you do your research, you will find a pet who’s right for you.
Puppies are cute and all, but they also require a lot of work. They need lots of training and socialization. Adult and senior dogs deserve to be adopted just as much as their younger counterparts — and they often are already house-trained and know basic commands.
You may not have as many years with your adopted senior as you would with a puppy, but for many, the pros of adopting an older dog outweigh the cons. When dog trainer Mikkel Becker adopted her senior Pomeranian, Mister Teddy, she didn’t even have a full year with him. But in their short time together, Becker and Mister Teddy developed a deep bond that changed her and her daughter’s lives forever.
If you want to help a shelter pet but can’t commit to adopting one, fostering can be a great choice. You’ll help a shelter relieve crowding and allow the pet to get used to a home environment as she waits for a forever family. In turn, the shelter will rely on you to provide information about the pet so the staff can find her the perfect home. Of course, it’s hard not to fall in love, so you need to be prepared to give up the animal if she gets adopted.