Dog Health & More
Monday July 19th, 2010
How do I know what I'm getting when I adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group?
Answered by Jamie Wolf
This is where your due diligence comes in. Spend lots and lots of time with your potential new family member. I recommend getting to know the dog as much as possible and even asking the rescue group if they will permit a "sleepover" (many do allow this once you've been approved for adoption).
You can't know what you're in for by only spending a few minutes with a dog. A cute fluffy angel of a pup may be adorable when you first meet, but you'll soon find out that he loves to chase cats or barks whenever the radio's on and therefore just won't work with your family.
On the other hand, many dogs are nervous when they meet new people; if that big scruffy mutt doesn't cuddle up to you within the first ten minutes, give her some time. Don't judge too fast in any case. Many people don't feel an instant connection, but wind up adopting a dog after a second or third visit with her.
It's also important to work closely with an adoption counselor. He will ask you what kind of dog you see fitting into your home and guide you toward an appropriate choice. Every dog deserves a chance, and it may take time to discover just the right pet. Just remember that adopting a dog is a serious commitment, and that time spent now will be well worth it.
Jamie Wolf, a lifelong animal advocate, is the founder of PetLover Central, a high-end, dog day care center in Boca Raton, Florida.