Adopting a puppy truly can be a win-win situation -- you get the pet you desire, and you save one from possibly never being adopted or euthanized. Of the 6 to 8 million pets who wind up in shelters, only about half are adopted, according to The Humane Society of the United States. Most dogs in shelters are between 5 months and 3 years of age, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find the right pup for you. Besides shelters, you can adopt a puppy from rescue organizations.
Shelter or Rescues
Shelters and rescues are where people typically adopt puppies. Shelters usually are government funded. Dogs receive their vaccinations, heartworm prevention, spaying and neutering at lost cost. Dogs there, however, could be euthanized if not adopted or if they become ill. Rescues typically don't euthanize; they pay the costs to treat dogs who get sick in addition to spaying or neutering and giving vaccinations. Sometimes veterinarians donate their services to help rescues stay afloat. Rescues need donations and volunteers to exist.
Many folks don't think of puppy adoption when they have a specific breed in mind. But they shouldn't be so fast to rule out adoption. About 25 percent of pets in shelters are purebreds, according to the HSUS. Breed-specific rescue groups exist, too. Perform a breed-specific search by typing the breed's name in a search engine followed by the word "rescue" to determine whether one is near you.
Why They're There
Puppies typically are in shelters because their owners move or because the landlord doesn't want the pup to stay. It isn't correct to assume that the puppies are undesirable. Many wonderful puppies who already might be housebroken or know basic commands are in shelters. Plus, shelter workers get to know the pups and can help match you with a puppy that meets your needs.
Shelters and rescues encourage people to adopt puppies, but they also want the pups to go to a "forever" home. Be prepared to show that you can provide a good home for an adopted puppy. You need to commit to keeping this dog for 10 or 15 years, be able to spend time with the dog and have adequate space depending on the breed you select. You also must be able to afford to care for the dog. Expect to pay several hundred dollars a year for a dog and more if you have one who needs professional grooming. Also, consider the rest of your household. Tell the shelter workers or rescue volunteers if you have babies, toddlers or other pets.
By Laura Agadoni
The Humane Society of the United States: Adopting from an Animal Shelter or Rescue Group
HealthyPet.com: Why Do Pets End Up in Shelters?
ASPCA: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting
ASPCA: Pet Care Costs
Save A Life Pet Rescue: Shelter Vs. Rescue
About the Author
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.