October is Adopt-A-Dog Month!
The American Humane Association is one of many groups encouraging people to adopt a shelter dog this month, whether it be to have an exercise buddy, friend for your child, therapy assistant, companion for a beloved senior citizen in your life, or just to have some companionship yourself. Local shelters offer dogs of every type, size, shape and personality.
“When going to adopt a new family pet, one of the main things to look for is that little new family companion that appears to already know you want to select them!” advises Dr. Marty Goldstein, a renowned holistic veterinarian and author of The Nature of Animal Healing. Click here to watch Dr. Marty discuss the power of integrative medicine in saving animals’ lives.
“Shelters have so many animals that need ‘fur-ever’ homes, and they are specially equipped to help you choose the right one just for you. Want a big dog? They have ‘em. Want a little dog? They have ‘em. Want a dog that loves other dogs? They have ‘em. Need a dog to be the ‘only’ pet? They have ‘em.”
DiVita notes that her local shelter in Longmont, CO, helped her family pick out their two hound dogs, which can be particularly helpful if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
“As with most shelters, they encourage interaction between visitors and pets, allowing you to take your chosen dog for a walk, or visit with your chosen cat, guinea pig, or other pet. The process of bonding begins with that half hour or so that you spend with your pet. If the one you’ve chosen at that moment isn’t a good fit, there are plenty more to choose from. Plus, shelters have a lot of full-breed dogs and cats that have been surrendered for one reason or another.”
DiVita said a great resource is: http://www.petfinder.com/index.html.
“You should expect to qualify yourself (how pet-friendly are you?) and your home, when you decide on the pet that’s right for you. Shelters are very focused on making sure the new pet parents and their new pet(s) are going to be happy together. I recommend reading up on how to adopt and also how to adapt; for instance, you may need to change a few things around your house. Consider that dogs routinely think everything left on the floor is theirs! Be kind and remove items you do not want the dog to claim. There may be accidents at first, also. For clean-up of accidents, I recommend products from Bissell. They are very pet-friendly.
Another place to consider when adopting a dog is a local rescue, DiVita said, particularly if you’re not sure you want the commitment of adoption. She adopted her 5-year-old Boston Terrier, Olive, from MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue. She was bred over and over, and came to the DiVita family with some health issues, but she’s healthy and happy now.
“Rescues are always looking for fosters, if you are still just ‘thinking’ about adopting. You could foster a dog for a week or so and get a feel for how much you want that particular kind of dog. You’d be doing the rescue a big favor, and taking time to discover how it will be having a new dog around,” she says. “All in all, adopt, don’t shop! That’s what we say in the pet community.”
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