We’ve all heard the phrase “adopt don’t shop” when it comes to finding your new furry family member. This is really brought into the spotlight in October during National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! According to the ASPCA, 23% of dogs are taken in from an Animal Shelter - this equates to about 2 million dogs per year. Swinging by your local shelter and falling in love with that good boy/girl who’s giving you literal puppy-dog eyes is the easy part. We’re here to help delve into the finer details of adoption to ensure you and your new pup are prepared to start the rest of your lives together.
The Starting Point
First thing’s first, pick a puppy that fits into your lifestyle. You may love Cattle Dogs, but your 800-square-foot studio apartment probably isn’t ready for all of that energy. Some things to consider before making that commitment are:
How Much is That Doggie in the Window?
Your new bundle of joy and slobber is going to come with some new expenses. Adoption alone can be anywhere from $50-$350+, but fluctuates depending on the shelter. Rescue Dogs 101 took to Facebook to ask their audience how much they spend on their dog per month, with the majority saying $100-$200. This of course depends on some different factors:
There are also some one-time expenses to take into consideration as well:
Sit down and crunch those numbers when you get the chance. It makes all the difference!
Now that you have an idea of what you should have in mind when choosing your new family member, it’s time to take action.
Step one is filling out an application. The application process helps both you and your potential pup in finding the perfect match. Your homelife will be taken into consideration, asking if you rent or own your home for starters. Some landlords will have a pet limit, breed restrictions, or require approval before the adoption process begins. Be truthful in your answers, for example, your lack of a backyard doesn’t mean you’re automatically out of the running.
Owning a dog is a job in itself, and with any job application you need references. Make a list of the people who know you best, they will be able to attest to the fact that you’re going to be the most caring, attentive, awesome pet parent in the world!
If you already have a brigade of beagles or a plethora of poodles the shelter may ask for veterinary records. They’re just making sure your gang is up-to-date on vaccinations, treatments, and wellness checks to ensure the newest member is in the best hands.
Home visits are not out of the question either, so maybe try actually putting your dirty clothes in the hamper. You’re going to want to show off how puppy-proof your place can be.
You Got Them! Now What?
Congratulations, you were approved! It’s time to make a list of some essentials - this is where our money talk from earlier comes into play. We’ve made a list of supplies you should have ready on day 1:
Supplies are great, they’re even necessary for success. Physical possessions aren’t everything, though. Isn’t that the moral to, like, every children’s story? There are some things you can’t have at your doorstep ready to go, but are just as important. One of these being having a vet lined up for their check up and vaccinations when they arrive. The earlier you choose a vet, the more comfortable and trusting you’re going to be with them watching over your little guy’s health.
The last, and probably most important thing, is patience. There’s actually a “333 Rule” to help with your expectations. The first 3 days your pup is overwhelmed, in 3 weeks they’re getting more comfortable, and in 3 months they are finally comfortable in their new home. More expectations with the 333 Rule can be found here.
After taking the time to consider these factors, you may find that you’re not quite ready for adoption. That’s perfectly fine! You can still make a difference in the lives of your animal shelter. One way of doing this is by volunteering your time. Shelters are always looking for help in all fields. You could be helping clean, taking care of some clerical work, and even walking dogs. Just an hour of your time can help everyone out.
Another option is donating to a shelter of your choice. Monetary donations are welcome, but take a look around the house. Are there any blankets you find yourself using less and less? The shelter will take them off your hands! Is there a sale on dog food or treats that’s too good to be true? Grab a couple of bags and bring them on over! Every little bit helps and both the humans and animals will be thankful for your kindness.
The Finish Line
You made it! You are now an expert on what to expect when you’re expecting a puppy. Put your knowledge into practice this October in celebration of National Adopt a Shelter Dog month and tell your new best friend we say hi!