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October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

by Therese on October 1, 2007

in Dogs, Pets

20071001lydia.jpgOctober is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and “Think Globally, Adopt Locally” is the message from the ASPCA. They encourage people who are considering adding a four legged barking buddy to their family to adopt from their local shelter. And, if you do bring a new friend home, they also have tips that will help make the transition go smoothly for you and your new dog. Here are some of their tips…

1. You Better Shop Around
Stock up on supplies before Fido arrives! Your new pal won’t need much—the Burberry overcoat and crystal tiara are optional—but essentials include food and water bowls, safe chew toys, grooming tools, a collar and leash, an identification tag and a crate with bedding (towels will do if you don’t want to spend money on a fancy crate pad).

When it comes to food, try to buy the same brand he’s already eating. If you want to change foods, make the switch gradually, mixing old food with new, over a period of a few weeks.

2. Divvy Up Responsibilities
To avoid conflict when Princess has to go out at 1:00 A.M., powwow with members of your household about who is going to be responsible for what. Who will walk the dog at various times of times of day? Who will feed the dog, and at what times? Who will take the dog to the vet? And if it’s you who winds up walking her in the middle of a rainy night, slap on a smile and remember—pet parenting is a privilege, not a chore!

3. My House, My Rules
Establish house rules for the dog that everyone will stick to. Before poochie comes home, decide things such as: Is she allowed on the furniture? Will we ever give her “people” food? What behaviors are encouraged, and which are forbidden? Consistency is the key to training dogs.

4. Lost In Translation
Dogs can get confused when one human says “down” and another says “off” when, for example, they jump on visitors. Then there’s “down” versus “lie down,” and “paw” versus “shake”—surely you see how this is perplexing to another species! Do Fido a favor and select the terms that you plan to associate with various commands. It’ll help to write out a vocabulary list of the words that everyone will use.

5. Safety First
Dog-proof your pup’s environment. Tuck electrical cords out of the way, install safety latches in lower kitchen cabinets, etc. Make sure anything dangerous to ingest—like small decorative items, children’s toys and chemicals—is off floor level. Some people find it helps to get down on the floor for a dog’s-eye view of every room to see what might tempt a curious canine.

Read more tips from the ASPCA.

(And although it’s not on their list, taking a pet first aid class can be invaluable for you and your pet!)

I’m a firm believer in adopting from shelters. In fact, my dog Lydia, was adopted from Town Lake Animal Center here in Austin. The photo of her above was taken when she was in the shelter – before I met her. She was on her last few days and I was told when I adopted her that she likely would not have made it much longer had I not brought her home. She is absolutely adorable, extremely lovable, terribly smart, funny, and a total joy to have in my life. The thought that many dogs like her are euthanized every day is absolutely heartbreaking.

While I’m certain there are very responsible, reputable breeders out there with adorable dogs and puppies to sell, I’m just as certain that shelters are full of pets that are equally as adorable. I’m also quite certain that dogs adopted from a shelter, even though they may not be purebreds, have just as much love to share as those “with papers.” And as far as Lydia is concerned, papers saying she is a purebred couldn’t make her any more lovable…she’s perfect just as she is!
So, if you’re thinking of adding a dog to your family, take the time to look at your local shelter – there may be a dog there waiting just for you!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Johann October 1, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Here, here!

Woofs, from shelter pup, Johann!

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Therese October 1, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Yup…some of the best dogs come from shelters 😉

Woof back atcha Johann!

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