But there's more. The practical reasons for adopting a shelter dog are also compelling. Compare the considerable time and effort involved with getting a new puppy. There's that inevitable mess of papers, training pads, puddles and spots on your carpets as you house train him. A puppy will also require a great deal of supervision to prevent behaviors such as chewing, aggression, and excessive barking. As it matures, there's the obedience training and socialization that every puppy should have so it can become a good citizen when in public and in your home. Otherwise, the future adult pet will likely be one that is difficult to manage when out in public and when visitors come to the home. We can all agree that puppies are indeed fun and oh so adorable, but they do require a great deal of work. Ask anyone who has had one. Their care and training is a huge commitment, especially for seniors or those with busy schedules. When you adopt a shelter dog, you will avoid much of the this effort! Instead, (in most cases) you are getting a pet that has already been trained. And while there may be an awkward period of adjustment when you first bring your shelter dog home, you'll delight in the fact your new pet will already have an understanding of bladder control and where not to leave his business.
To make your adoption a success, you should take sufficient time to ensure you will choose a dog that fits you and your lifestyle. Do the research on which breeds are good with children, which need abundant exercise, which need a lot of space in their environment, etc. so you will end up bringing home a pet that's right for you—and for the dog too.
Another practical advantage of pet adoption is related to financial costs. Raising a puppy is an expensive endeavor. It will require a series of vaccinations and frequent visits to the vet in the first year of growth, as well as periodic lifetime visits and shots. A shelter dog will have been checked over by a vet and be up to date with vaccinations when you bring the pet home, saving you quite a few expenses. Also, the health evaluation provided by the shelter will be one of your decision points for adoption, so you will have a certain knowledge of what to expect over time. There are also the breed-specific health problems to consider too with pure breeds. Most pet owners who choose a new puppy do so because of the specific breed. Most shelter dogs are mixed breeds, which makes them less prone to underlying breed-specific health problems such as canine hip dysplasia, a painful join-related condition which can affect older dogs. So with a shelter dog you are likely to save these future healthcare costs as well.
Yet another point worth considering is how puppies change in appearance as they mature. Though certain attributes can be expected based on the breed, a puppy's ultimate adult size, disposition, and energy level cannot be known with any certainty. As most shelter dogs are in their adolescent and adult stages, you'll have the advantage of knowing exactly what he looks like, his size, and more. This ability to see what you get can be very handy for city dwellers who live in small apartments without yards, or without access to nearby parks. The adoption shelter will help you to choose a dog based on his energy level, so you can be matched with a pet that's right for you and your environment.
These are just a few of the practical considerations for adopting your next dog from a shelter. And if I have you sold on the idea, then it's just a matter of finding the right dog for you. To make your adoption a success, you should allow sufficient time to ensure you will choose a dog that fits you and your lifestyle. Research which breeds are good with children, which need abundant exercise, which need a lot of space in their environment, etc. so you will end up bringing home a pet that's right for you—and for the dog too! Also, learn what needs your adopted dog will have so you can determine if you are able to provide for them adequately. Most shelters will help you with this as they prefer to find permanent homes for their animals.
FUREVERMORE's Resources section contains lists of adoption shelters throughout North America (visit this link). You can also check for shelters in your area using web searches or your local phone book. These days, many shelters have photo galleries showing images of the dogs that are currently available. These is a great place to start if you have an idea of what you are looking for. You can also visit the shelters in person as nothing beats viewing the dogs in the fur. Your local shelter may also attend adoption fairs and other outreach events sometimes held at shopping centers. Check for listings of such events on their website or in your local newspaper.
With the abundance of shelter dogs available, it shouldn't take very long for you to find your perfect choice. Whatever that choice, just remember that all a shelter dog wants is your love and a home where they can spend the rest of their lives. Your reward is so much more, a new best friend and companion. You'll be gaining an excellent exercise buddy as well!