by Brigitte Smith
Have you given any thought to how you will go about choosing your
next family dog? Perhaps you'll look in the newspaper for
advertisements from breeders who are selling new puppies, or perhaps you
might locate suitable breeders via listings on the internet?
Hopefully you would not consider purchasing a puppy from a local pet
store, seeing as it is widely known that a large proportion of these
dogs come from puppy mills.
Perhaps the best method, in terms of being helpful to society in
general, is to adopt a dog from a local animal shelter. Have you
considered this an an option for you?
Adopting a shelter dog brings a new companion into your life, as well
as helping to reduce the number of unwanted and homeless dogs in your
area. Unless the shelter is a facility which does not practise
euthanasia, (and these are sadly few and far between), it will also save
a dog’s life. Animal lovers everywhere champion the adoption of dogs
from shelters as opposed to any other method of bringing home a new pet
for this reason alone, but there are also other reasons to choose the
· Adopted pets have been examined by a vet and have usually been
given a clean bill of health
· Shelters can often give impartial information about a dog’s
background, and its temperament
· Adopting a pet frees space in the shelter for another dog to be saved
and adopted out
When you adopt a dog you can be sure that the staff at the shelter
has had the dog examined by a vet for diseases and parasites and that
the dog has had its shots. This is not always true of dogs acquired by
other means such as taking on an older dog from a private advertisement
(“Dog Free to Good Home”).
The dogs at a shelter don’t consist only of strays or dogs that
have been cruelly abandoned, but are often turned in to the shelter by
former owners for various reasons. When this happens, the shelter
collects as much information about the dog as possible, including
whether it’s good with children, how much it barks, how playful or
obedient it is, whether it’s housebroken, and other important details.
While it’s true that this information is only as good as the honesty
of the former owner, it’s usually reasonably accurate.
Animal shelters provide a valuable service to the community by
keeping the streets as free of stray animals as possible. Because many
of them do this with little or no public funding or governmental
support, they are very limited in the number of dogs they can have in
the shelter at any given time. The only way that they can bring in more
stray animals is if they remove the ones they currently have. This is
done through adoption or euthanasia. Obviously they would prefer to have
the dogs adopted rather than put to sleep. Adopting a dog could
very well not only save the dog’s life, but it allows the shelter to
bring in another dog in its place.
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