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  • Tim Wallander

So you’re thinking about adopting a dog?

Working with rescues, I’ve heard many success stories about the new relationships that develop between adopted dogs and their new owners. Unfortunately, for every successful adoption, there are several unsuccessful ones that end up with the dog back at a shelter.

Many people choose their dogs for various reasons without really thinking about the big picture, or without understanding what is truly involved. Often people decide to adopt a dog primarily on looks alone. They have zero knowledge of the breed and are not sure of how or don’t have enough experience to handle a dog that may require special attention or training. They and end up putting themselves and the dog in a bad and unfair situation. It can be very difficult getting certain dogs to coexist and live harmoniously among its new family.

Sometimes people end up getting a dog in order to fill the void left by the death of a loved one, or to help them get over a divorce or break up. In such cases they probably have certain preconceived expectations for that dog regarding his behavior or routine and it doesn’t always go as planned. They may not connect with their new companion right away and filling that void ends up being more work than they originally intended. When this happens the emotional turmoil can be compounded, especially if the dog starts to exhibit unwanted behaviors.

I’ve heard several stories of people adopting a dog based on an emotional split-second decision, without any consideration of their own life style. Imagine being an active runner. You enjoy covering long distances every day at a relatively quick pace and decide you would like a running partner. So, you go to the local animal shelter or rescue. There you fall in love with a beautiful little Pomeranian or better yet, a Basset hound. Chances are that the dog will not be able to keep up with your exercise regimen. Weeks later you’re regretting your decision because you now have a dog that doesn’t fit your lifestyle.

Does anyone in your house have any allergies? You would be surprised at how many dogs end up back in the animal shelter, just because their new owners discovered that one of their family members or friends has allergies.

What about the financial investment of owning a dog? This is another reason dogs end up back at a shelter or rescue. Did you know that the average yearly cost for owning a dog can be as much as $2000? Think about all the things your dog will need: Adoption fees, food, food/water bowls, treats, chew toys, collars, leashes, crate, bed, vaccines and routine vet care, etc. What if your new dog takes out his frustrations and anxieties on your furniture? Surely you’ll want to invest in training, which involves your time and money!

Don’t get me wrong; choosing to welcome a new dog into your home is a great idea and can be very rewarding. Before you begin the process, it is important to find out everything that you need to know to make the right choices for you and your new dog! After all, adopting a dog is a lifetime decision, so you want to be sure that you are well-informed and well-prepared before bringing this new member into your family.

In upcoming posts we will consider key questions that you should ask yourself before adopting a dog.

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