YES! You’ve decided to get another dog.
Oh man, we’re jealous.
Here at YaDoggie HQ, we’re always thrilled to hear that someone wants to add a lovable, new pup to their pack. Did you know that about 44% of American households have dogs at home? We know what’s up! While many people hear about their dogs by word of mouth – maybe someone you know has a litter of pups, or a co-worker is moving and needs to find a new home for their aging dog – others look to breeders or shelters for their new furry friend. The American Pet Products Association estimates that about 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 23% of dogs are adopted from animal shelters or humane societies, while other people adopt their perfect pups from rescues or other sources.
YaDoggie loves all pups, but we especially love hearing tales (tails?) of rescued dogs finding their forever family. If you’re considering getting another dog, we encourage you to #adoptnotshop. We admit, the process of adopting a pup from a shelter or a rescue – the two main organizations that manage dog adoptions – can seem a little challenging and cumbersome. Here’s what to expect when you begin your dog adoption journey.
Shelters are often public, local (city and county) organizations; sometimes referred to as “the pound,” shelters are run by police or health departments, or animal control. There are private shelters, as well, and that’s where you’ll find the words “humane society” or the acronym S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
You can usually visit shelters throughout the week – there’s a formal facility with a staff that maintains the site, cares for the pets, and welcomes the public for adoptions. Many shelters advertise the dogs available for adoption online, so if you see a dog you love, you can swing by for a meet and greet when it suits you. Keep in mind that if you can – everyone else can, too, and you might not be the first person to show interest in a specific pup. Depending on where you live, the competition for adoptable dogs can get pretty fierce. Since shelters are often understaffed, calls and emails might not get swift responses, so it’s best to show up in the flesh if you’re serious about adopting a dog.
Shelters are often efficient when it comes to actual adoptions. For many of them, if you’re there and the dog’s there, and you can pay the fee and show the staff worker your driver’s license – you just might come home with a dog that day! The fee could be anywhere from $25 – $125 dollars, so come prepared to make a payment. Also, the shelter will have information on the dog’s vaccinations as well as a sterilization certificate, which you’ll want to take with you so you can get your new pup licensed. Once you’ve paid and obtained the necessary paperwork, you get to take your new furry friend home. Congratulations – you’ve joined the #dogsquad!
Note: All shelters are different, so while many offer same-day adoptions, it’s best to confirm the process at your local shelter so you don’t hit any hurdles.
Rescues are typically supported by foster families. While there may be a private boarding facility, many rescues utilize volunteer foster families to care for the pups while the organization advertises the adoptable dogs and searches for the dog’s forever-family.
Rescues often have meet and greet events at pet stores at the weekend, or host special adopt-a-thons where people can come by and get to know both the pup and the people who are caring for it. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact the organization in order to adopt a pup, either via email, by phone, or through an application on their website. Once you express interest, you’ll be contacted, often by the foster caregiver, to discuss the dog in question. After chatting about your lifestyle and the needs and personality of the dog, and everyone is still interested, you’ll likely arrange a meet-up at a public place nearby, such as the rescue’s weekend adoption event. From there, the rescue might request an in-home visit before finally contacting you to tell you that you’ve been selected as the forever home for the dog. You will work with the foster caregiver to set-up a delivery date and time, and then – CONGRATS! You’ll get your brand new best bud.
While a rescue often requires more of your time, and tends to be a more thorough adoption process, there is one major benefit to taking this route: caregiver insight. You’ll be able to discuss the dog’s history and personality with the caregiver directly, and glean information you can use as you transition the new pup into your place. If the caregiver has children, other dogs, or cats, or other pets around – they’ll be able to tell you how the dog manages that environment. It’s likely that the foster caregiver nursed the dog to better health, or helped them acclimate to a proper domestic setting, and all the nuggets of wisdom and historical reference they have can set you up for success as the forever family and dog owner. Make use of the waiting period and ask the foster family all the questions you have.
Note: All rescues are run differently, so please contact the organizations near you in order to understand their process and adoption timeline.
Have you adopted a dog before? Did you use a shelter or a rescue organization? Tell us your story of how you came to be a family in the comments below!
– The YaDoggie Team