1. Intro Into The Adoption Process
It is important to note that the adoption process will slightly vary by location. When choosing a pet, picking a location with proper procedures will ensure you reduce the risks and complications associated with back yard breeders, puppy mills and for-profit organizations.
A good adoption process looks like this:
The company/organization is easy to find with public information available
They will have a comprehensive list of their animals available, with any additional health and life history information if available (some are rescues and have limited info)
You will be vetted. This includes an in depth questionnaire and interview, housing, financial stability, ability to care for and raise the pet, etc.
Spend a considerable amount of time researching the pet that best suits your family and lifestyle.
Be prepared to provide references.
Choose your pet and meet them to determine if the pairing is a good match.
A home visit will take place.
A trial period may be granted to determine the pets suitability within the home. This is not to see if you want a pet, but how the pet will adapt to your lifestyle.
You will pay a fee for adopting. Sometimes this will include spay/neuter/shots/vaccines. Other times these things will be additional costs.
You will have a contract to abide by. This will usually include adequate and consistent health care, non-breeding clause, annual check ins and a surrender clause.
2. Deciding What Breed Is Right For You
This can be a bit of a lengthy process. I mean there are a ton of incredible choices. If it were up to me I would have one of each. But that just isn't realistic (... is it?). No. We need to focus.
Okay, so here are some things to consider when deciding the breed that BEST fits your lifestyle, family and home.
1. Size matters (really) - choose a breed that fits into your space well. A St. Bernard is not a condo pup.
2. Every breed has different levels of energy - make sure you're choosing appropriately to MATCH your current self - not one that will motivate you to be more active. This often ends in failure.
3. Again, size matters (no, for real).The amount of food they consume is directly related to their size.
4. If you are active, that is not enough to have an active dog. You also need appropriate space for the dog to run multiple times a day.
5. Working breeds exist for a reason.
6. Do not get a dog based on their looks.
7. Consider your children and the age they are as well as the age of the dog you are bringing home. Be aware and do an insane amount of research if you are adopting a rescue - you may want to reconsider if your children are young.
8. Account for their coat. Shedding is a thing.
9. Consider their intelligence level and trainability.
10. What are you looking for in a dog?
These are super important answers you should have before looking at dogs. Not only will it lessen your stress level but it will lessen the chances of your pup not working for your family and being surrendered. Take this process seriously (seriously!).
3. The Dangers of Back Yard Breeders
There are some serious dangers when dealing with back yard breeders, for yourself and the pet. This includes a vast range of health concerns for the animals, no prior breeding experience, not vetting their adoptors properly, and many other disturbing facts that you may not be aware of.
Some concerns we have with back yard breeders include:
They are not adequately trained for proper animal birthing.
They do not know how to socialize their pups properly
They usually do not have a history of their pets parents health records and lineage qualities
They generally provide little to no vet care prior to adoption
They may adopt the pet out too early, leaving the pets vulnerable to under-development
They usually are not registered
Their pups can have health issues like worms, gastrointestinal disturbances, heart murmurs, inadequate nutrition, fleas, etc.
They contribute to the over-population of animals that can end in euthanizing a healthy animal for lack of a home.
They don't ask questions or vet their adoptors properly
They are in it for the profit and not for the pup. This can mean their female is over-producing litters and being neglected of proper care.
4. Rescue Pets and the Extra Care They Need
Rescue pets require a little extra care and attention. Sometimes, these pets are abused, neglected, inadquately cared for, confined to small spaces or left outdoors and more. Knowing how to be calm, compassionate and patient with your new rescue will ensure a better chance at success for both you and the pet.
Here are some ways to give our rescues a little extra nurturing love -
Be patient. It will take longer for these babies to get accustomed to your space and their new life.
Don't force your love on them. They will open up when they are comfortable.
Some rescues may have had to fight for food. Using a slow feeder will help tremendously with their meal times and help them to digest food properly. Eventually, they will learn they do not have to fight any more.
Create a safe space just for them. This includes from your, your family members or other pets.
Slow and calm training will help your pet build trust with you.
Be prepared to have extra vet visits to ensure your pet is managing well in their new environment.
They need constant attention, even from afar. Try sitting in the room with them but not near them. Understand their need to evaluate you.
Give them a new comforting toy and bedding.
Feed them kibble or food that they are already used to eating
Chew toys - these are a must!
Pet Identification tags
Pet-proof your home. Ensure it is safe for both you and your new pet.
Give them time. Adjustment periods can vary depending on their history.