By Craig Davis, CEO and Chief Happiness Officer at Vet-Organics.com
The month of October is about more than just Halloween and trick-or-treating. Did you know that October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month?
If you’ve been thinking about bringing joy to your home and family via a canine companion, here’s what you should know.
Do Your Homework
The first place to start is actually not at a shelter. Just like adopting a child, there are factors to consider other than the instantaneous delight you’ll get from having a new furry friend to play with. This dog is going to be a permanent family member in your home.
There’s nothing as cruel as adopting a dog you’ll tire of or can’t take care of and have to return to the shelter. A pet is a lifetime commitment to be taken seriously.
Examine your motives and lifestyle before you adopt. Security and companionship are the top reasons people want a dog instead of a goldfish.
What’s your lifestyle like?
Are you a 10-hour a day workaholic and a weekend couch potato? Or have you found that magical work/life balance and enjoy outdoor activities for fun and relaxation? Dogs need daily walks and activity to be healthy and happy and certain breeds and ages require more face time with their masters.
Do you have the finances to own a dog? You’ll have to plan for vaccinations, nutritious food, and dreaded emergency trips to the vet.
Who will be your back up care for the dog? Dogs need walks, play and care 365 days of the year. Boarding may an option, but consider this in your overall plan for caring for a dog.
Honestly answer these questions before you move on to the next (fun!) part.
Which Dog Is My Soulmate?
Mutts are just as lovable as purebreds so don’t get hung up on labels.
If you’re the high-energy type, you might adopt a fireball such as a Jack Russell or shepherd mix.
If intense outdoor workouts aren’t your thing, an older dog may be your soulmate. Keep in mind that all dogs still need exercise, but a calmer, mature dog won’t be doing marathons or obstacle courses. Stick to smaller dogs if you have a tiny apartment and research large or extra large breeds if you have room for Fido to run.
Where Do I Adopt?
You’ve done your honest soul searching and are ready to find that fuzzy friend. Unburden the bursting walls of your local shelter!
A quick internet search will connect you to shelters such as the Humane Society or ASPCA. Certain pet supply stores also stage adoption events. Near to the Boca Raton area, you can visit numerous pet adoption and welfare agencies, including the Tri-County Humane Society, which recently rescued 26 dogs flood-ravaged South Carolina.
At the shelter, try not to go by looks alone or fall for the puppies just because they’re cute. Ask the shelter help about the personalities of dogs they have and share what you think would be the right match for you. Let them help you choose. Consider going home to think about it before making a snap decision.
Even if you can’t adopt right now, you can spread the word about October being Adopt A Shelter Dog Month.