(Ron Miller in New Leash on Life - Dogington Post)
I feel adopting an adult dog or puppy from an animal rescue shelter is one of man’s more noble deeds. These are puppies and dogs who through no fault of their own, have ended up in a place where they are fed and housed, but little more is provided in the way of love and the joy of living with a caring, loving family. All dogs have a desire to belong, and these poor shelter dogs have been robbed of this need. I would strongly encourage anyone actively seeking a dog or puppy to search as many local animal rescue shelters as possible before buying from a breeder.
Nothing wrong with buying from a breeder if you’re looking for purebreds, but keep in mind that most shelters have some purebreds, including some that are registered! Some shelters even specialize in purebreds. So before you automatically reject the idea of adopting, call and ask around.
Because shelter dogs may have a background of unfavorable treatment from a previous owner, and they may be beyond “prime training age”, you must always use patience with any animal shelter dog you adopt.
Any animal shelter dog adopted may be there for a variety of reasons. Always speak to the care takers at the shelter to learn as much background of any dog or puppy you are interested in. For puppies it is usually a case of the previous owners had an unspayed female dog that became pregnant, and the family is not able economically to take care of the pups. Thus they end up at the shelter.For adult dogs reasons include being abandoned, have become lost, or were dropped off at the shelter because the previous owner has become too old, ill, or has hit hard times economically to care for the dog. Occasionally it is because the owner has died. Then there are the dogs taken from previous owners by the Humane Society or animal control officials due to being abused.
Whatever the reasons are for the dog ending up in a rescue shelter, you must be aware of the fact all the adult dogs are going to have a previous history. The dog is going to require plenty of patience and love on your part before it is possible to win the dog’s confidence in you.
Some of these dogs are going to take right to a new owner with no problems. It is the dogs with a history of abusive treatment we especially need to use love and patience with. It will take time for the dog to learn you are not going to hurt them.
I have been a dog owner for many years, and it pains me to even think of how some of these dogs have been treated. They deserve good homes and loving owners, so please consider adopting a dog when you really want a dog. Be patient with the animal shelter dog, and he or she will reward you with many years of loyalty and love.