Tips for Adopting a Shelter DogAdopting a shelter dog is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. For dog lovers, there is no greater joy than bringing a new dog home for the first time and watching her explore her new surroundings.
When you adopt a shelter dog, you are not only getting a new best friend, you're saving a life. In America, between 8 and 12 million pets are brought to animal shelters every year. When you and your family are ready to bring a new dog into your home, consider visiting your local shelter to find the dog that's right for you.
A visit to the animal shelter can be an emotional experience. It's very important to focus on the types of dogs that you can properly care for. Take your time deciding! If you're thinking about a puppy, be honest with yourself about what it's going to take to raise him. If you feel in your heart that it's not the right time for a puppy, there are plenty of older dogs who would love to come home with you.
In general, look for a dog that is: Healthy – clear nose and eyes, smooth skin, supple fur; Responsive – approaches you, accepts eye contact, wags its tail; Balanced – curious and interested in you but neither aggressive nor fearfully shy.
Remember to inquire about any medications the dog may be taking, and find out if she has been vaccinated. Spaying or neutering is also a good idea, and most shelters will provide this service at no or low cost.
It's wise to bring certain items with you for the car ride home. Some dogs are susceptible to motion sickness, so you'll want to have a towel handy. It helps for the dog to have a brand new toy, like a little stuffed animal, waiting for him in the car to ease his nerves.
Lastly, one of the most important things you'll need to do is have a name tag printed at your local pet store. Even if you haven't decided on a name for your new pal, buy an inexpensive tag that includes your phone number, with the area code, just in case. The last thing you want is for your new dog to end up back at the shelter.
Adopting a shelter dog can be a great experience for you and your family, and an even greater one for your new best friend!
Copyright (c) 2007 Jennifer Koretsky
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