First: Are you ready for an adopted dog?
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. You can think of it like a test-drive,” says Joan Harris, director of canine training and behavior at PAWS Chicago. “Some families love fostering so much that they choose to be a resource to help the shelter save more lives by continuing to foster, rather than adopting themselves.” If you are ready to bring a new dog into your lives, congratulations! These are the things you need to keep in mind as your new pet adjusts to their new family.
Don’t believe the misconceptions about shelter dogs
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 have been through traumatic situations or need extra medical or behavioral care, shelter dogs are placed in a shelter for a variety of reasons. “We have happy and healthy puppies from ‘oops’ litters where people didn’t spay or neuter their pets,” says Michael Morefield, director of marketing and communications for the Arizona Animal Welfare League. “We (also) have adults that are playful, active, and love other dogs, but their family couldn’t care for them for one reason or another.” There is no feeling like the one you get as you lock eyes with a dog and know it’s “the one,” regardless of age or breed. The day you bring home a new dog is one of the most memorable days ever.