Things to know before adopting a rescue dog

Make safety a priority for yourself, your family, and your new rescue dog with these simple tips.

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First: are you ready for an adopted dog?

Adopting a dog means adding a lovely new member to your family, but it’s also a big responsibility. Everyone in your household should be on board with the decision to adopt a dog and understand the commitments of time, money and care that owning a pet entails. If you’re not sure your family is ready, consider adopting a dog first. “Becoming a temporary foster home is a great way for your family to learn more about owning a pet, get first-hand experience of what works for your home environment, and see if you’re ready for a permanent new member of the family. You can think of it as a test drive,” says Joan Harris, director of canine training and behavior at LEGS Chicago. “Some families love fostering so much that they choose to be a resource to help the shelter save more lives by continuing to foster, rather than adopting themselves.” If you’re ready to welcome a new dog into your life, congratulations! These are the things you need to keep in mind as your new pet adjusts to their new family.

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Don’t Believe Misconceptions About Shelter Dogs

According to ASPCA, 3.2 million people adopt a rescue pet each year. However, a common misconception is that all shelter dogs are broken, abused, or problematic. While some have been through traumatic situations or need additional medical or behavioral care, shelter dogs are placed in a shelter for a variety of reasons. “We have happy, healthy puppies from ‘oops’ litters where people haven’t spayed or neutered their pets,” says Michael Morefield, director of marketing and communications for the Animal Welfare League of Arizona. “We (also) have adults who are playful, active and love other dogs, but their family couldn’t care for them for one reason or another.” There’s no feeling like the one you get when you meet a dog and know it’s “the only one” regardless of age or breed. The day you bring home a new dog is one of the most memorable days ever.