Dear YAP,

Why should I adopt from a shelter or rescue?



There are so many good dogs waiting for a good home in every animal shelter.
Did you know that pure breed dogs can be anywhere from 25 to 50% of the dogs in a shelter?


Or that most shelter dogs sense that you are giving them a second chance for getting a good home? 


The shelter people assess each dog for any possible health issues and temperament before the dog is made available for adoption. When you adopt, you should ask the shelter staff about the care and treatment of the dog you chose, based on its size, breed and gender. Yes, you will be asked to pay an adoption fee, but that will be the only time in your life that you will ever pay for something that will give you its total love and lifetime's devotion. Also ask what food the dog has been eating at the shelter, to make adoption a smooth change even for his tummy. 


Shelters rarely have young puppies available, so you are looking at adult dogs or a few older puppies who have learned to control their bladder and bowels. They are therefore, usually easier to train. Some dogs are already trained by the prior owners. And yes, some dogs do still need training. But you would need to do that with a puppy anyway.


So, here is why I adopted a my last two dogs;
I knew I would be saving this dog's life. Shelters can only keep dogs for a few days, unless they are a no-kill shelter. An adopted dog understands that you are taking them into your home, and away from the cages.


An adopted dog tries harder to please you. They really do. Mine always did.
Dogs live in the moment. You show love and affection, you will get it back many times over.


Some dogs are nervous when you first adopt them, new surroundings,  but they also want so much to be wanted and owned.  


When you walk your newly adopted dog, he will walk with his head and tail up, proudly because he now has a 'someone.'


Funny, but doesn't that make you walk a little straighter?


He will pay you back with love because you give him food, fresh water and a warm place to sleep, especially if he had been a stray, or not fed regularly in his prior home. They remember, if not while awake, in their dreams.


Ever see a dog's trembling feet while he sleeps, or soft woofs? That's what dreaming of running or barking. One of mine slept and apparently was having a nightmare of being beaten. I will never forget his repeated yelp, shudder, pause, over and over. I gently said his new name, and saw his fear when he first opened his eyes, then the joy of seeing that he was now with me, and safe. I held him like a baby, telling him he is a good boy, while he licked my tears away.


Your adopted dog will very quickly understand that you took him into your family (or in instinctive dog terms, his pack) and will guard you to the best of his ability.
He will also guard your family, because he is now the newest member of your family/pack, and he really wants to prove he can be a good member.
He will try harder to please you if you go to dog training classes. He knows its important to you to learn what you want him to.


He will accept one adult as his 'leader,' but will equally show love and guard everyone else, especially your children.


Your dog will greet you every time you come back home. Its a dog ritual; greet the master and mistress (pack leaders).
Petting your dog has been found to reduce tension and blood pressure in people. It just feels darn good.


Walking your dog has been found to improve human health. Walking is great exercise, and to your dog, its bonding time with you. Walking your dog gets you to meet and talk with more of your neighbors. OK, all the dog lovers will be your new friends. 
Walking your dog is also a way to meet people of the opposite sex, which is good if you are single.


But most of all, as you get to know your adopted dog, you will be so glad that you saved his life.


To him, you are his life, and he will protect you with his life. 
Its your best investment of money and time, that you will ever make.
One more thing, if you are planning too get a dog for Christmas, please do it several days or a few weeks before Christmas. That will give the dog an easier adjustment to living in your home. Holidays are just too stressful on top of adjusting to a new family, and some dogs will become stressed, and get upset digestive systems. You will save yourself and the new dog some stress. Not to mention cleanup. Me, I love to walk my dog. It is our time. But so is snuggling on the sofa, or an afternoon nap, or a walk in a park, car ride, or... you get the idea. Best thing I ever did, each time I adopted a dog.

Terry Powell


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