Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Many dog owners turn their pet dogs over to local shelters for a variety of reasons. Sometimes when people re-locate they are not allowed to keep pets in their new homes or apartments, while others discover that family members have become allergic to the dog and they are forced to find a new home for their beloved pet. There are some dog owners out there that just do not feel they have the time and/or the resources to keep the dog any longer and feel forced to give it to the nearest shelter for re-adoption. Whatever the reasons, the fact is that there are tens of thousands of dogs sitting in shelters today all across the United States who are waiting to be adopted.
If you have been thinking of getting a dog, instead of looking through your local newspaper for puppies for sale, consider giving a shelter dog a home instead. Sadly, most shelters are extremely over-crowded which means that the if the dogs are not adopted within a couple of weeks, the shelters will be forced to euthanize the dogs. I took a tour through a large dog shelter in Michigan a few years back and the tour included a peek inside the 'freezer room'. This room was nothing more than a walk-in freezer which contained dead dogs and cats, wrapped in plastic, stacked as high as the ceiling, awaiting burial somewhere in a mass grave. Although that scene stuck in my head for many years, I totally understand why shelters are forced to put thousands of dogs asleep each year-they simply do not have the room to keep the dogs nor the resources available to build bigger shelters. Dog shelters are faced with rather strict budget restraints and they often get their funding from volunteer donations. Most of the folks that work at the shelters are donating their time and are caring for these abandoned pets out of the goodness of their hearts. Shelters all over the U.S. are overflowing with adult dogs that only need a second chance in life. The dog shelters do their best in assessing the dogs they take in to see if they are used to being around other dogs and pets, if they are good with children and whether or not they are housebroken and trained to walk on a leash. You may be surprised to find out that a great many of these dogs would indeed make outstanding pets and that they were abandoned by their original owners for reasons well beyond the dog's control.
Adopting a dog can save you an incredible amount of money compared to buying a purebred from a breeder. Often shelters will charge you for only for the cost of vaccinations and the basic care they have provided. You can often walk away from a shelter with a wonderful and deserving dog for less than $100 and sometimes for less, depending on the circumstances. You may be pleasantly surprised too that the shelter has micro-chipped your dog to ensure that he or she will be returned to you if it happens to wander away from your home or yard.
So, instead of looking online at young puppies for sale, please do consider getting in your car and driving to your nearest dog shelter. The dog shelter that I visited told me that whenever new people come in to view the dogs that are up for adoption that the shelter staff does not allow the visitors to look at the puppies until they have viewed all of the adult dogs up for adoption. This is done for obvious reasons as people find puppies irresistible and won't even consider looking at a full grown dog when there are puppies up for adoption at the shelters.