ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS   Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
Acquiring A New Dog
Are you ready to commit to your pup for his entire life?
Purebred rescue groups are usually
run by people with in-depth
knowledge of a specific breed.
Rescue groups keep adoptable
animals until they can be placed in
loving, permanent homes. These
animals may come from failed
breeding operations; arrive from
boarding kennels and veterinarians,
where they were abandoned; be
rescued as strays living on the
streets; or be obtained through the
cooperation of local animal shelters.
Adoption fees vary, depending on
veterinary and other costs that
have been incurred. Follow-up
counseling is usually available.

When you contact a
breed rescue
group, be sure to find out as much
as you can about the group, how it
cares for its animals, how it decides
which animals are adoptable, and
what other adoption and
post-adoption services are available
Avoiding Pet Stores,
Newspaper Ads & Internet Ads

There are a few places you'll want to
avoid when looking for a pet. Puppy
mills—mass-dog breeding operations
that put profit above the health and
well-being of the dogs they sell—try
to dupe the public by selling their
puppies through pet stores, Internet
ads and local newspaper ads.
Please be sure to avoid these
methods when looking for a new pet
and instead adopt from an animal
shelter or rescue group.
 
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The decision to acquire a dog should not be an impulsive action. Shelters and
Rescue groups are overflowing with dogs which were bought for the wrong
reasons. Dogs are living creatures whose needs are the same as your own: food,
shelter, love, and family.  Most of the dogs bought on impulse or given as surprise
gifts are dying by the thousands every day in
shelters across North America.

Educate yourself on the
breed you have chosen.  Visit the specific dog breed clubs
online, read books, go to
dog shows and talk to breeders, talk to pet owners, talk
to people doing
breed rescue.  Join an on-line discussion group for  that breed.
Meet as many dogs, pet and show alike, of this breed as possible. If you are
looking at a mixed breed, educate yourself about the
breeds it came from.  Do not
choose a high energy dog if you are a couch potato, and vice versa.

Make sure your chosen
breed will fit in with your family and lifestyle.  A dog is a
10-20 year commitment, and you should be no less committed to your dog than  
to children.  Both are dependent upon you for food, shelter and a loving
environment.

Are you prepared for all contingencies? How do you feel about dog hair over
everything during shedding season? What is your tolerance level for muddy paw
prints all over the house when it rains?  Are you prepared to brush, shampoo, cut
toenails, or to pay for those services? What about
veterinary bills?

What will you do if you move?  Giving away your furry companion is akin to giving
away your child because it is no longer convenient.

Research and careful planning cannot be emphasized enough. If you think ahead
and make contingency plans, you can save yourself and the dog the heartbreak of
going to a shelter or rescue group.

WHERE Should you look for a dog?

The best place to acquire a puppy or adult dog is from an ethical breeder, rescue
or
animal shelter. Do not buy your future companion from a local pet store,
newspaper or internet classified ad.

Puppies in pet stores come from big “
puppy mills”.  The puppies in pet stores are
taken from their mothers too early, shipped across country at a very young and
impressionable age,  kept in little cages, and when they grow older, have
physical, emotional and mental trauma from such a poor start in life.

No reputable breeder will send puppies to a pet store to be sold. Most
responsible breeders will require you to "qualify" before allowing you to adopt a
pup.

If you have your heart set on a purebred puppy, make sure you do your
homework and check the breeder out thoroughly. (Read the
Guidelines for
choosing a reputable breeder  )  

Rescue groups make every effort to ensure their dogs are healthy and free from
defects and that they have a good temperament.   If they have a
health problem
the potential owner will be told right up front.  Adoption applications are usually
required, as are personal interviews and references.

Most
breed rescue groups require the potential owner to fill out an adoption
application, and sign a contract.  They will discuss lifestyle, work hours, children,
other pets, living situation all in an effort to match the right dog to the right
owner. Many require that references are checked and a home visit completed prior
to introducing the prospective owner to the available dogs.

Animal shelters  house stray dogs and cats for a mandated period of time so they
can be claimed by their owners.  If unclaimed they are put up for adoption.  
Unfortunately, so many people misuse shelters as a dumping place for unwanted
animals that they are overwhelmed and many dogs and cats are euthanized
because of lack of space to keep them.

Like rescue groups, most shelters require an adoption application and spaying or
neutering within a specified period of time.

For more information and guidelines on acquiring a new dog see:
Acquiring a New Dog or Puppy

Download the  PDF file: How To Find A Good Breeder
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