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Facts about adopting a rescue dog

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Transcript: Facts and myths about adopting a rescue dog

Hi. I'm Caitlin Lewis, community outreach manager for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton on behalf of Iams. Adopting a new dog or puppy is an exciting and sometimes scary endeavor. But we're going to take some of the scary out of the equation by walking through some of the biggest barriers to adoption. Then, we'll get you and your family to find just the right dog for your home.

Shelter pets can seem like a gamble, but they're actually a great way to add a new member to your family. The problem is that there's a lot of misinformation circulating around pet adoption. A common assumption is that all pets that are brought into a shelter must have something wrong with them. This is simply not true.

In fact, the main reasons pets are given up include: owners are moving to housing that doesn't allow pets, owner having personal problems, too many or no room for litter mates, owner can no longer afford the pet, owner no longer has time for the pet. Many of these reasons have nothing to do with the pets themselves.

Working with the shelter staff and volunteers can be a great way to figure out the best match for you and your home. If you've already decided adoption is the right route for you, let's talk about what to expect when you arrive at the shelter. To help ensure that their pets are matched with responsible, appropriate owners, shelters often have a screening process in place.

You may be ask to attend an interview, fill out an application, and/or sign a contract. They may also require a home visit, references from your vet, and possibly other requirements. The screening process benefits both the pet and the potential adopter. It helps to increase the likelihood that you will go home with a pet that's right for your family, one that fits your lifestyle.

At the shelter, you will have the opportunity to walk through the dog kennel area to see if you're interested in meeting any of the dogs. If one of the dogs catches your attention, a staff member or volunteer will bring the dog in to you in a separate visitors room so that you can have some private time with him. Here, you can have your family meet and interact with the dog to see if he is a good fit for your family.

Shelters also highly encourage you to bring any other family pets, if appropriate, so you can ensure that they get along well with your new potential pet. In addition to selecting and bringing home your new dog, you're going to need a number of new items in order to feed and care for your new pet. It may be a good idea to wait until you select your new pet before you begin shopping for supplies.

For example, some items such as food and water bowls, or collars and harnesses, depend upon the size of the pet you'll be adopting. Also, be sure to find out which food your pet was eating in the shelter or foster home so that you can provide the same in the beginning to ease the transition. After the pet has settled in, talk with your veterinarian about switching to a high nutrition dog food that's right for his age and size.

Well, I hope we've been able to convince you that a shelter dog can make a wonderful companion for you and a welcome addition to your home. By taking the time to do your research and with a little patience, you'll find just the right dog for you.

Now, let's recap. Shelters are a great option if you're considering adopting a dog. Work with your local shelter to find a dog that's a good fit for you. And lastly, make sure to find out what shelters adoption process entails, as this can vary from shelter to shelter. I'm Caitlin Lewis on behalf of Iams. To join the Iams community for more information and offers, check out the website.

See why rescue dogs and puppies make great pets. Plus, learn common misconceptions about rescue dogs, as well as how to find the perfect match for your family.


Ready to Adopt? What You Need to Know

Ready to AdoptAdopting a pet is a wonderful deed—you’ll help a dog or cat in need while at the same time find a devoted animal companion. But it’s also a long-term commitment and not to be taken lightly. You’ll need to be prepared to provide care, food, training and attention— be ready to deal with a pet that may shed on or chew or scratch furniture—and be able to afford years of veterinary costs. But what you’ll receive in return is priceless and immeasurable: the gift of unconditional love.

Shelter Pet Myths
There are many myths associated with shelter animals that prevent potential pet-owners from considering adoption. One myth is: you can’t find adoptable puppies or kittens, while in reality shelters have pets of all ages and sizes waiting to find a forever home. Another myth is that there are no purebred dogs or cats available for adoption. The truth is 25% of shelter animals are purebreds. In addition, there are many breed-specific rescue groups that work to match up the right owner with the perfect purebred pet. Finally, many believe falsely that shelter animals have been given up because they’re un-trainable, while in fact many healthy, sweet, smart animals have been surrendered to shelters not due to their dispositions but due to situations out of the pets’ control. Plus, many pets adopted through shelters and rescues are spayed or neutered, behavior tested, and microchipped.

Many healthy, sweet, smart animals have been surrendered to shelters not due to their dispositions but due to a divorce, a move or lifestyle change, or a family member developed allergies, or because an owner was not truly ready for the responsibility of pet ownership. Shelters offer adoptable dogs and cats of all ages, breeds, mixes and sizes. And if you’re truly set on a purebred pet, there are breed-specific rescue groups that work to match up the right owner with the perfect purebred pet.

Finding Your New Pet
When considering a new pet for the whole family, it’s good to involve all members of the household in the process, which means having everyone visit the shelter together to pick out your new dog or cat. That includes your current dog. Some shelters even provide special rooms for dog-to-dog meet-and-greets to ensure the right match. It’s also a smart idea to keep an open mind about the kind of dog or cat you want and work with the shelter experts to find the pet best suited to your lifestyle and temperament.

The Adoption Process
Most shelters have an adoption screening process that includes paperwork plus personal references. Expect to pay a fee that covers vaccinations, microchipping, spay/neuter surgery and that helps support the shelter’s costs.

A Period of Adjustment
It’s common to experience a period of adjustment when you bring your new pet home. Remember, your pet has just gone through many changes and is often confused. Dogs are creatures of habit and need time to get used to new smells, schedules and people. Cats are very territorial and often hide for a few days, even up to a week, when introduced to new surroundings. Have patience—this initial adjustment period can last a month to three months. In taking the time to learn about and get used to each other, you and your pet will build a loving relationship that will last for years.

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How You Can Help

Women with dog

If you’re not ready to take on the fulltime responsibility of pet adoption, consider fostering a homeless pet. That means caring for a shelter dog or cat for a limited period of time versus taking on the fulltime commitment and responsibility of adoption. It’s a very good deed, because fostering helps free up space in shelters for more needy animals. Shelters usually supply pet food and supplies like litter and bowls and will also compensate for any medical care costs. Some shelters even have educational programs on caring for foster pets.

Pets in Need
Most often, the pets that are fostered are ones that aren’t ready for adoption, like newborn puppies and kittens, and pets that have undergone surgery and need special care. Some shelters operate only through a foster program and a network of people willing to take rescued animals into their homes short term, until forever homes can be found for them, in which case, all ages and breed-types will be available for foster-care

Right for You?
Fostering can be a good alternative to adoption, especially if you’re not sure you’re ready to adopt, but still want to experience having a pet in your home. Often people end up adopting the pets they foster. But if you’re certain you only want a short term responsibility, note that it takes a special kind of person to foster a pet, since you will eventually need to give the animal up once a home for it is found, which can be difficult if you’ve become attached. If you think you’d like to foster a pet in need, check with local shelters to find out more about their programs and their present needs.

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