Adopting a Shelter Dog
The Process Is Simple
Animal shelters want to make adopting a pet as easy as possible and still ensure the dog is going to a safe environment. The process from shelter to shelter is about the same.
First, you go to the shelter and a counselor escorts you to the kennels. If you see a dog you like, the counselor takes the dog out to spend some time with you to see if you and the dog hit it off. Some shelters ask that the whole family, including other dogs, meet with the new dog.
Then, if you and the dog like each other, you fill out an application. This application goes into some detail about how much time you spend away from home, whether the dog is an inside or outside dog or whether you live in an apartment or a house. If you live in a house, does it have a fenced yard? Fences are a requirement. They’ll also want you to have a vet lined up.
All shelters require spaying or neutering the dog. The choice is whether they do it or you do. If they do it, the cost is included in the fees. You can’t take the dog home until the vet finishes the operation, and the anesthetic wears off. If you’re going to do it, you sign an agreement that you will get the dog fixed within a certain time limit. If not, you may default on the dog.
Vaccinations and Other Medical Treatment
All dogs will have their shots current when they’re released to the new owners. Puppies who are not old enough must go to the vet for these shots when they reach the correct age. They also have to get booster shots. It’s imperative that the dog is protected against rabies, Parvo and Bordetella. These are life-threatening diseases.
When the dog first comes to the shelter, he’s usually dewormed. All puppies are dewormed because quite often they’re born with worms. Topical medications are used for fleas and ticks. The fight again fleas and ticks is a continuing one, and flea medicines such as Frontline, Advantage or K9 Advantix are available. Some shelters also treat for mange and ringworm and other parasites.
Some shelters microchip the dogs. A microchip is a little transmitter that contains all the dog’s information, including name, owner and address. If the shelter doesn’t offer it, ask your vet to do it. It’s invaluable if the dog is an escape artist or gets out of the yard for some reason or takes off on a walk.
There’s an adoption fee for the dog that goes to help the shelter. Also, there are other fees for the shots, medicines for parasites, license (if the shelter does it), the microchip, the sterilization and a small fee for feeding the dog. Most shelters charge from $75 to a little more than $100, depending on the state and whether the shelter did the microchipping and sterilizing.
Many shelters now have Web sites that show some of the dogs, so you can narrow your search for the size and dominant breed you want. However, keep an open mind when you get to the shelter because you never know who you’ll meet.