When our family started looking for a new dog, we weighed our options carefully. Sixteen years ago, when it was just us, it made sense for my husband and me to start from scratch with a brand new puppy. We contacted a breeder, went to “just look” at the puppies she had, and came home with a fluffy ball of love. Summer fit right into our little family as our first fur baby.
Fast forward sixteen and half years, and we were finally ready for baby number two, after the hole in our hearts from the loss of Summer had begun to heal. In those years, we had moved twice, welcomed home three human babies, and taken on baseball, hockey, soccer, a job requiring travel, and a large yard. We were not in a good place to accept the responsibility of raising a tiny puppy. But still, our new house was not a home without the familiar clicking of a dog’s toenails following us around on the hardwood floors, the tangle of paws and cold nose greeting us when we came home, and the long walks ending in sprawling “frog” legs and happy panting. So, we began looking for our next furry friend.
We found Hattie on the Golden Retriever Rescue Club of Charlotte’s website, and it was pretty much love at first sight. She had already been house broken, she was past the chewing stage (mostly), and yet she still had tons of energy. When we went to meet her, she chased a ball tirelessly, gave us giant doggy kisses, and followed us around lovingly. She was perfect. And still is.
Adoption: A Great Option
Adoption is obviously not the only way to go, but it is a great option in certain situations.
- Adoption is a good option is you are not willing or able to train a puppy. You can still adopt a young dog (Hattie is two), with the perks of the dog being house trained and beyond the biting and chewing stages. Or you can meet an older pup with just as much love as a puppy, but some additional manners you may appreciate!
- If you cannot afford the fees associated with purchasing a pet through a breeder, adoption should be considered. Usually when you adopt a pet, the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations, and microchipping are included in the adoption price. You can also take advantage of PetPartner’s Certificate Program. They partner with shelters and rescue organizations across the country by offering 30 days of pet insurance for newly adopted dogs. Visit the Shelter and Rescue tab on their webpage to find out more.
- I’ve mentioned before that pets can help lower your blood pressure and keep stress at bay (see Love Your Pet Day for more benefits). Caring for a pet helps give your life meaning, and caring for a shelter pet gives you an added bonus of fulfillment because you are not only improving your overall well being, you are making life better for another animal by providing a forever home for him.
Support Your Local Rescues and Shelters
If you are not ready for a new addition, there are still some things you can do to honor a shelter pet. You can offer to walk shelter dogs once a week, or spend some time playing with and giving love to the animals. When you consider the sheer number of dogs and cats awaiting their forever homes, the extra set of hands you can provide a shelter is priceless. You can also donate gently used toys (just wash them first) to your nearest shelter. Food/water bowls and household items such as paper towels and newspapers are also greatly appreciated.