Consider attending Adopt a Shelter Dog Month in October, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society, St. George News
ST. GEORGE —As October draws to a close, it’s still not too late to participate in Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. But before you take the plunge and adopt a dog, it’s important to determine which type of dog is most ideal for you.
According to a press release issued by Best Friends Animal Society, the need for pet adoption remains high.
Even with the pandemic doggie craze, 32% of the 347,000 shelter animals (dogs and cats) killed last year were dogs, according to Best Friends 2020 data from shelters in the United States. Over the summer, shelter admissions spiked, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dogs in need of new homes across the country.
Adopting a dog has many benefits, said Erin Katribe, veterinarian and medical director at Best Friends, in the press release.
“Studies have shown that having pets reduces stress and decreases anxiety. This is especially helpful during difficult times like the ones we have experienced over the past year and a half,” said Katribe: “Dogs are also great walking and hiking companions. It’s like having a personal trainer on all fours.”
Another advantage of adoption is its cost effectiveness, the press release said.
“Most shelter dogs are groomed, vaccinated, microchipped and ready to go home for a nominal fee,” Katribe said.
Since most dogs in shelters have been in homes before, many of them are already trained.
“For adult dogs, all it takes is usually a quick refresher course to become potty trained in a new environment,” Katribe said.
Of course, saving the life of a dog in need is also extremely rewarding.
“These dogs are so eager to be someone’s best friend again,” Katribe said. “They will repay you for your kindness with a lifetime of unconditional love and companionship.”
To help you in your search, Best Friends offers the following tips:
The lifestyle is huge.
Love to binge-watch TV and prefer quiet nights at home on the couch? A senior dog or one that prefers to be a single pet could be your ideal match.
More athletic types should consider an energetic dog that can keep up with any adventure. High energy doesn’t always mean youthful either. Many older dogs are still bursting with energy.
Even if you don’t have a big house, dogs of all sizes can thrive in an apartment or condo (provided they get enough exercise). Large-breed dogs are most at risk in shelters, so keep your eyes peeled for a big boy or girl who might otherwise be overlooked.
Ask the shelter team to play matchmaker.
Tell shelter staff and volunteers who you live with or share the space with, including any pets (rodents and reptiles count). You’ll also want to write down any pets you encounter on a regular basis (like the small dogs in your apartment complex or a friend’s dog who likes to visit).
How much affection do you need?
Some people like to receive doggy style kisses, others don’t. Same goes for sleeping – do you want to snuggle up in bed with your dog or do you prefer him to have his own bed somewhere else? How much (or how little) affection you expect from your pet is an important factor in deciding which one to adopt.
Involve the children.
It’s important to take your children with you to meet any potential pets so you can observe how they interact. Ask the shelter staff if any of the dogs in their care have ever lived with children.
Keep an open mind.
Rather than focusing on looks, size, or race, focus on characteristics such as who will fit your lifestyle best and who you bond with.
Know your limits.
If you’re unwilling to potty train a puppy or can’t handle a strong young dog, don’t feel guilty. It is important to know what you can and cannot assume as a dog owner.
Ask about medical history.
Some dogs, especially older ones, may have current or persistent health conditions that require medications or increased veterinary care. As such, it can cost more and involve more time to care for the dog. It is important to factor this into your decision-making process.
Most shelters allow potential adopters to bring a dog home for several weeks or more. This is the best way to really get to know the dog and can give you the confidence to decide if you should make the situation permanent.
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