As many of you know, Andrews dog Bailey passed earlier this month. This was very sad time for him and his family, since Bailey had been his companion for a long time. Feeling a void in his life, Andrew started looking into how to adopt another animal. While telling me of this, I realized that I had no idea how to start an adoption process. I looked into it and thought I’d put together a little information for anyone else who wouldn’t know where to start either.
First of all, I think the most important step, is to have a reason. Andrew, whose been petting the chair handle out of habit, has a void in his life. He’s always had a dog and his children and wife love having an animal around the house. Plus, its said that those with an dog have less health problems! Either then marriage, this will be the only time you get to hand pick a member of your family. You’re going to want to choose wisely.
Now, its time to look into shelters and rescue societies in your area. http://’www.canadasguidetodogs.com/rescue/bcrescue.htm is a link to shelters in British Columbia. I personally love the idea of rescuing an animal. The shelter (usually) has spayed/neutered the animal, given it its up-to-date vaccinations, flea medications and an overall health check. Many of these dogs live in foster care 24/7, which means the foster parents can tell you around the clock details of your dog. Not to mention, you could end up saving a couple bucks too. Most places only charge an ‘adoption fee’, to cover part of the medical treatments the dog has received while in the rescuers care, which is often lower then a pet shop animal purchase, as well as more of a health guarantee.
After browsing the shelters online (many who have all the animals, plus pictures and a few details available), figure out what kind of animal would suit you and your family best. I recently learned that many places provide “Adoption Counseling” to help match you up with a pet.Things to think about are: What size of animal will fit in your home; How about the temperament around children and other animals in the house, your schedule and how high-needs this animal could end up. Research the usual medical issues in the breed, life expectancy, as well as local vets (including all hours emergency ones) in the area.
When you go into the shelter, try not to have a specific dog in mind. Sometimes the centers are too busy to update their websites, which leads to people assuming all animals are available. This can lead to heartbreak (especially to children) and could deter you from saving another, just as amazing animal’s life. Maybe you find a dog you fall in love with right away. Maybe it takes a couple shelters and a dozen dogs for you to find ‘the one’. Either way, you are giving an animal their life back (possibly even a better one then they had!). If you are looking for a specific breed, there are specific breed rescuers as well.
Once you’ve found ‘The One”, fill out the forms to get the adoption process started! After handing them in, be prepared for a wait. Seriously, this step might feel like its taking forever. Stay patient, the Shelter volunteers are just making sure you will be as good as a forever home, even more then you wanted to make sure this would be your forever dog.
Some places do things differently at this stage. Certain shelters will allow you to be approved, and take the animal home right way. Others will let you have ‘dates’ with the pet. First, just you and her. You take her home, show her all around, take her for a walk. This is a stage for you to evaluate that the needs of this animal and the needs of your family are a perfect match. Return her to the shelter, and then schedule a family date for a couple days later. When you do a family date, discuss with the children the pros and cons to having a pet, as well as the added responsibilities. You’ll feel like a child at Christmas again, laying in your bed that night, shaking with
the anticipation of having a new pet to love.
If you don’t get approved, don’t be to hard on yourself. There are a ton of reasons, including maybe the dog wasn’t right for you, not that you weren’t right for the dog. There are LOTS of adoptable dogs (and cats) in the world, plenty of shelters and rescue societies to look into, and plenty of time to find your perfect ‘forever match’.
Once you do get approved and get to take your animal home, make sure you have all the necessities. This includes (but not limited to) food, dishes, leash, collar, toys, bed, blankets and clothes for smaller animals in colder months. Also, find out the shelters policies. Many state that if you ever need to surrender the animal, you do so to them, versus another shelter. Maybe they could even recommend a vet in the area for you! Above all else, enjoy your new animal!! Congratulations on being a life saver!
Let me know if thiswas helpful for you, as well as anything I missed, or anything in the future you’d like me to write about!