Adopting a dog means adding a lovable new member to your family, but it’s also a big responsibility. Everyone in your household needs to be on board with the decision to adopt a dog and understand the commitments of time, money, and care that owning a pet entails.
If you’re not sure your family is ready, consider fostering a dog first. “Becoming a temporary foster home is an excellent way for your family to learn more about pet ownership, gain first-hand experience on what works for your home environment, and see if you’re ready for a new permanent member of the family.
Don’t believe false notions about getting a shelter pet
According to the ASPCA, 3.2 million people adopt a rescue pet every year. However, a common misconception is that all shelter dogs are broken, abused, or problematic. While some certainly have been through traumatic situations or need extra medical or behavioral care, other shelter dogs are placed in a shelter for a variety of reasons,including:
- relocating to an apartment that doesn’t allow pets
- change of jobs and not having time for dog or cat
- having a baby and being overextended both financially and with time
- someone in the household developing allergies
- pet does not get along with a previously owned household animal
Bring the new pet home
Once you find the right dog or puppy to adopt, remember that your new pup is most likely freaking out, and that’s normal. He or she has been through an ordeal, either surrendered by his previous owner, picked up as a stray, and/or separated from its mom and litter mates for the first time.
Rescue facilities, while important and necessary, aren’t exactly calm, quiet places. Your new dog was probably in a run or cage, maybe with one or two other dogs in the same run with him, surrounded by even more dogs in other cages, all of them barking and howling. Then, a stranger (you) put him/her in a car (which may or may not be frightening in itself) and went to another completely new place. It is an adjustment, so be sure to give your pet time to get used to the new surroundings and to you!