Adopting a Dog from a Shelter

by Leesa Raab

At Eco18, we are huge dog lovers! I myself just adopted a 2 year old Puggle (a Pug/Beagle mix) named Tater Tot from a shelter just over a month ago and it’s been an amazing experience so far. For anyone who is looking to get a dog, I highly recommend going this route and adopting from a shelter. According to the ASPCA, approximately 5 to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters each year and approximately 3 to 4 million are euthanized. There are so many loving and worthy dogs in the shelters who need love and a place to call home, and deciding to adopt will not only change the dog’s life but yours as well.

Before you decide to adopt a dog, make sure you are prepared financially and that you understand the commitment of what owning a dog will bring. Not only will you have to purchase supplies, but you will also have to factor in vet visits and pet health insurance as well. There will also be an adoption fee, which can range anywhere from $50 – $250. This money however goes towards the shelter or rescue organizations that rely on these fees to run their organizations, and adopting a dog is still cheaper than buying one from a breeder.

Also do your research to get an idea for what type of dog you’re looking for. If you live in an apartment in New York City you’ll probably want a smaller dog that can handle being in confined spaces but if you have a big yard for the dog to play in, then you may want to get a larger dog who likes to be active and run around. On that note, also keep an open mind when going to visit the shelter since you may like the temperament of one dog or fall in love with a dog that doesn’t exactly fit your criteria.

A great place to start your dog search is on or the ASPCA. Almost all shelters and rescue organizations keep their pet listings updated on these websites so it’s an easy place start a search for pets in your area. Before you head to the shelter, make a list of questions you want to ask the people at the shelter, such as if the dog is spayed/neutered, why the dog is in the shelter, does it have any health or behavioral issues, does it have a history of biting, does he have all of his vaccines and is he dewormed. Also, ask about their return policy, while you don’t want to have to think about bringing this dog back, the shelter should be willing to take the dog back at any time. It’s better to ask all of these questions now before you bring your dog home and find out the hard way. Also once you decide to get the dog, ask if the shelter offers any complimentary services, for instance some shelters offer one free veterinarian visit or a training class.

While you are at the shelter look around for dogs that are friendly and sociable, you’ll want find a dog that likes to be around people. Take your time at the shelter to spend time with the dogs that interest you to get a sense of the dog’s temperament and personality. Take the dog for a walk, feed him and play with him. Once you fall in love with a dog and want to take him home, make sure the whole family and everyone that will be living with the dog meets him before you bring him home. You’ll also want to make sure the dog gets along with children and vice versa.

Once you find your canine companion, there is an adoption process and paperwork to be filled out. Every shelter and rescue organization is different but the process can include anything and everything from filling out an application, being interviewed, having a home inspection to make sure your home is a safe place for the dog and providing references.

Before you bring your pet home, make sure you already have all of the supplies you need such as a pet crate, pet bed, food, collar, leash, food and water bowels, treats and toys. The first few days that you bring him home, dedicate a lot of time to hanging out with the pooch, he will probably be nervous, remember this is a huge adjustment. Keep the environment around him calm and stress free and don’t introduce him to any strangers or new people until he has become acquainted with his new home. Immediately start a feeding and walking schedule that he can get used to and schedule a visit to the veterinarian for a checkup to make sure your pooch’s health is in tip-top shape.

For more information about adopting a dog or to start your search, visit and the ASPCA.

Related Posts