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Nothing warms an animal lover’s heart like an empty shelter – it means pets have been adopted into happy homes, full of love, warmth, and attention. Recent events have led to an encouraging uptick in adoptions around the country, but I can’t help but wonder – did they really go to their “furever” homes? Or just their “until things return to normal” homes?
History has shown us that many shelters will soon be receiving surrenders from people whose circumstances have changed. They may no longer be able to afford their adopted pup, or they find that lifestyle shifts make pet ownership incompatible. That’s why it’s important to think through the decision to adopt beforehand – and ask the right questions to make your adoption a permanent, and happy, one.
Sometimes family members will have more time, energy, and attention to devote to a furry companion than others. While those instances are wonderful, it’s important to consider the flipside: when life gets busier – the kids go back to school, work picks up, or circumstances otherwise change – will the dog still fit into your lifestyle?
There is a very real difference between puppies and mature dogs – and how their behavior will affect your day-to-day life. Puppies may be adorable, but they typically have LOTS more energy, aren’t house broken, and need more time and energy to manage and train. Mature dogs may not have the pure cuteness factor, but can be less labor-intensive for their owners.
Different breeds offer various characteristics and temperaments, so a little research can go a long way in determining the best fit for your family. There are lots of breed-specific rescues around, while shelters tend to have mixed breeds. If you are interested in a specific mixed-breed pup, read up on the breeds suspected to make up that dog, as each may contribute certain aspects to the dog’s personality and needs. Learn more!
Does your family already own one or more dogs? If so, it is vital to consider how they behave around each other: if they tend not to get along with others, or have existing behavioral issues, those issues should be addressed before bringing another dog into the picture.
Adopting a dog is a serious decision, and a little research can make all the difference for everyone’s well-being. Consider these questions to set yourself up for a life of happiness with your new canine companion – in their “furever” home!
Special thanks to Joanne Rice, Bark Busters Master Trainer and Behavioral Therapist in Greater Tampa Bay, FL. for her contributions to this article.