October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month – which if you are an animal lover (like me) then you will want to let others know about this great month long holiday!
The holiday is actually Adopt A Dog Month but it’s also marketed as Adopt A Shelter Dog Month because it’s so very important to let everyone know how wonderful shelter dogs can be.
Why Adopt A Dog From A Shelter?
The Helping Hands Humane Society lists the top 10 reasons to adopt from a shelter.
- You save a life.
- You help break the cycle of pet overpopulation.
- You help stop cruelty in mass breeding facilities.
- You take advantage of adopting an adult animal.
- You get a lifetime resource with shelter employees and volunteers.
- You choose from a great selection of animals.
- You adopt a pet who has received good care.
- You support a valuable charity and community institution.
- You pay less.
- You encourage others to adopt animals from shelters.
I have to agree with all of these reasons and have to add that some dogs and other animals who come to a shelter have been abused so you may have the great opportunity to help one of these unfortunate souls to live in a good home and finally have the good life that they deserve.
But it’s important to know what KIND of dog would be best suited for you and for your household – so let’s go over some tips on that subject.
How To Choose The Right Shelter Dog
It’s very easy to walk into a shelter or pet shop hosting an adoption day to get taken away by the wonderful dogs that are there. Some of you may want to just take all of them home (I know I often do!).
But of course, you probably can’t (or shouldn’t) so it’s important to remember to stay focused and try to choose the best dog that would fit your lifestyle. So here are some tips.
- Consider the size of the dog – If you are an older adult, I would recommend a small to medium sized dog. Reason being that if you are walking a dog and they see a squirrel or cat, you need to be able to manage holding that dog back. This is much harder to do with a larger dog.
- Consider the space you live in – If you live in a small apartment and you are considering a dog that likes to run a lot – then that may not be a good fit. Or a very large dog in a small apartment would also not be a great fit.
- Consider your lifestyle – If you work outside the home 8 or more hours a day – you will need someone to come in once or twice a day to take the dog out for a walk to do his business. I have a friend who ignored this advice and his poor dog died of kidney disease due to not being able to relieve himself for 8 hours or more.
- Consider the demeanor of the dog – Do you mind a dog who barks a lot or one that is extremely active? Or would you prefer a dog that is more sedate and calm? Are you looking for a dog to be very active and playful?
- Consider purebred vs. a mutt – I personally have always had mixed breed (mutts) dogs and I prefer that over purebreds simply because they seem to be healthier. My dogs have had very few health issues (if any) compared to other dog owners that I know who are caring for purebred dogs. This is not to say to ignore a purebred but if veterinary expenses are going to be an issue for you then I would consider adopting a mutt.
- Listen to the dogs – I know it may sound odd but you CAN try to understand what dogs are saying. 3lostdogsacademy.com has a wonderful FREE online course on how to understand what a dog is saying. This information will help you to know if that dog is right for you.
- Talk to the shelter’s staff – Speak to the staff about the dog you are considering to adopt. What do they know about him/her? What have they observed? Does he/she get along with other dogs? With children?
- Is the dog on any medication? – If the dog you are looking at has been spayed or neutered that day they may be on medication and not showing their true self.Ask the staff.
- Test run – You will want to walk the dog to see how he behaves. You will also want to try to rile him up and then try to calm him down. Is it easy to do that? Difficult? After a few minutes of interaction – walk away from the dog and hopefully he/she will follow you (this is a good sign).
One tip I can strongly recommend is to hire a dog trainer to come to your home to help you make the most of your relationship with your new furry friend. I would say that doing this at the beginning, when you first bring him/her home would be better than later on.
What Does It Cost To Adopt A Dog From A Shelter?
Generally speaking it costs an average of about $250.00 to adopt a dog but this can vary from shelter to shelter by a lot! It depends on the shelter, the state / country, if the dog was vaccinated or not, neutered or not, etc.
Many shelters also hold free adoption days as well as discount adoption days so if the cost is an issue – contact your local shelters to find out if any of these types of days are coming up on the calendar.
How Long Does It Take For A Shelter Dog To Adjust To A New Home?
The BCSPCA.org reports that on average it can take a dog 2 weeks to 2 months to adjust to their new environment. Many factors come into play such as…
- were they previously abused?
- how old or young are they?
- their demeanor – are they friendly, anxious, frightened?
- how long have they lived in a shelter?
- have they ever lived in a home before?
- can they accommodate to your home environment? It may be too noisy for them or too small of a space.
I have had dogs that have adjusted within just a few days and then again, I have also had dogs that took several months to adjust. But no matter how long it took – they always eventually ended up being such wonderful, wonderful pets.
Be patient and be prepared and you will have a friend that will love you unconditionally.