According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately five to seven million companion animals enter U.S. shelters each year. Of those, between three and four million are euthanized. Instead of purchasing a dog or cat from a breeder or pet store, consider recycling a pet by adopting a shelter animal!
Visiting an overcrowded shelter can be incredibly overwhelming. So when you visit a shelter, how do you decide which pooch is right for you? First, before you adopt, you should assess your lifestyle. If you travel, do you have someone to watch the dog? If you love after-work happy hours and spontaneous weekend getaways, are you willing to build in contingencies for your pup? Once you’re ready to bring home that barking bundle of joy, here are five things to consider:
Take Rover for a Test Drive
Before making a visit to the animal shelter, borrow a friend’s pooch for a spin around the block. Spend an afternoon on a romp with Rover, meeting other dogs, and of course, scooping some poop. Better yet, invite a friendly pup for a sleepover. Run through the dog’s full routine from breakfast to bed to get a feel for having a dog around your house and as part of your routine.
It’s Kinda Like Dating
The cutest one may not be your best match. When you visit the shelter seeking your slobbery soul-mate, spend one-on-one time with the potential pup to determine if personalities mesh.
All dogs need exercise, but the amount and intensity varies. If your Saturdays are spent outdoors, opt for an energetic breed like a Weimaraner or a Labrador. If your ideal weekend involves flipping between Lifetime and TLC, a toy breed is a better bet because their tiny bodies can’t handle much exercise.
Check Your Bottom Line
According to the ASPCA, it costs about $620 per year to care for a medium-sized dog. And that’s without any unforeseen emergencies. Ensure you have a little wiggle room in your budget to accommodate a pup’s needs.
Do Your Homework
A shelter provides an array of breeds, ages and personality types. It’s all about selecting the right animal for you. The key: Research! Attack this like you would a work assignment. Check references. Ask questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the facility and the dogs.