Adopting a Shelter Dog

There are great, pure bred dogs in shelters waiting for homes!

October is adopt a dog month!  In honor of adopt a dog month I thought I would share some of my many experiences with shelter dogs and reasons to get out there and save a life this month!

Did you know that the Humane Society of the United States estimates that 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year?  I also found some very interesting statistics compiled by the NAIA (National Animal Interest Alliance) about the statistics of where our animals come from.

There is no doubt that there are too many dogs for the amount of good dog owners and homes that are looking for them.

One of the biggest misconceptions about adopting an adult dog from a shelter is that you are getting a dog with a problem.  Although this is sometimes true, it is often not the case.  I remember many years ago while working for a nonprofit organization that took dogs from shelters and trained them for people with disabilities we came across a gorgeous 2 year old Yellow Labrador Retriever Mix who was returned because “The owners got new carpet and the dog’s fur no longer matched”.  Really?  Really? Since when is fur color an acceptable reason for relinquishing a dog to a shelter?

Now I hear the naysayers whispering in my ear, “That was just an excuse, the dog undoubtedly had behavior problems”.  The answer was NO the dog made a lovely Service Dog.  But, I shudder to wonder what might have happened to him if we hadn’t come along?

Most of my career has been spent in shelters looking for dogs that would excel as working dogs, most often Service Dogs for the physically disabled.  I have taken and worked with hundreds of shelter dogs over the years.

For all the organizations I worked with we never took puppies from shelters, puppies are usually easily adopted.  We were always looking for adult dogs 2 to 4 years of age; this is often the age people get frustrated and dump their dogs at shelters.

Although some of the dogs we took did have behavior problems, most of them simply had no training and were never given the opportunity to learn.  There are thousands of dogs taken from shelters and transformed into working dogs each year.

Once trained, most people would give their right arm for such a dog, and the irony is they probably would have been euthanized if we hadn’t stepped in.  Several of our dogs were on their very last day when we took them.

Saved on His Last Day and Became a Wonderful Service Dog!

Once trained a Service Dog is valued at $20,000.  I often hoped the former owners would see the dog they dumped on TV, at a demonstration, or even just working in such a triumphant field.

My opinion is that puppy adoption comes with a lot of “what ifs” and “unknowns” even to those of us who are professionals, it is often difficult to know WHO a puppy will grow up to be.  Puppies, like children, go through many behavior changes and developmental changes that shape who they will be as adults.  Although we may try to control the pups environment and shape who the puppy becomes, ultimately it is a “crap shoot” to many degrees.  That is why so many dogs or puppies fail working dog programs.

Adult dogs are kind of “What You See is What You Get”.  They are not going through developmental changes and they have kind of evened out on their basic temperament.  Usually adult dogs don’t do a lot of changing temperamentally.  I like this insurance.  Behaviors can be easily changed or shaped once I have picked the right temperament for my family or his new job.

I can also usually see what breeds have gone into the mixing and I can easily see what size the dog is.  A mixed breed puppy is difficult to determine what heritage it may indeed have and what size it might be.  I worked for a vet that adopted what she thought was a sheltie mix puppy that would only get to be 30 pounds or so but she ended up being 80 pounds.

Mixed breed dogs are often the best of both worlds, and are usually healthier than their pure breed counterparts because they have not endured over breeding.

However, you can find almost any pure bred dog, even rare breeds that have been relinquished to shelters!

I have taken hundreds of dogs both mixed and pure breeds out of shelters over the years and I have seen them live very successful lives either as great Assistance Dogs or as marvelous pets!  You can find them too!

If you are unsure what you are looking for, just go and look.  You don’t have to come home with a dog; you may decide to go to several shelters before finding your new family member.  If you need help, you can employ the help of dog trainer or other expert.  Ask the shelter staff or contact a rescue that knows the dogs personally and tell them about your family dynamic and what you are seeking, and for more information on how I find my ideal shelter dog keep your eyes open for more posts on helping and finding the right shelter dogs!

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  1. Betti says:

    I currently have 3 shelter dogs and would not go anywhere else to look for my next pet. The love that comes from them is 10 times that of any other animal I have ever had. It is as though they are trying to repay you for rescuing them from “that place”. Are there issues, hevens yes, but they are the same that you would have with any other dog. Love and patience will heal all wounds.


    Tilda Reply:

    I do so agree. I have 10 dogs all of whom have needed a home. They are the most wonderful companions to me and to each other. The only problems I have encountered is not having enough money to look after all the unwanted dogs. Sometimes it is hard for a dog who has been an only to settle down with a pack but I find it an interesting exercise to make it work and have yet to have a failure.


    Fran Reply:

    Currently, I have 2 “rescues” and 1 “Breeder-bred” black lab.
    ALL are wonderful, irreplaceable members of my family. My 2 “rescues” found my lab, husband and myself, after we lost our 12-yr old smooth fox terrier. Initially, we thought we’d adjust to being a “3-member” family. In a couple of weeks, we were so lost and depressed (including our 8-yr old lab, who had been with the terrier from 6 weeks of age)I started looking at “PetFinder”, just to “see”. In a couple of days, our first 8-mo old female, “lemon beagle”, caught my heart with her precious expression, and her story..Her previous ‘owners’ decided their career schedule was too demanding to fit this precious little girl in their life (they must have had interesting careers, to change so dramatically in a couple of months). Fortunately, their “loss” became an answer to our prayers. When we went to see this little girl, we met a “friend” she had made at the shelter.. a little terrier / chihuahua (?) boy, picked up as a running stray, presently undergoing heartworm treatment, guessed to be about 3-4 years old. The little boy had been found the same day our beloved terrier had passed, and the little girl, coming in about 2 weeks later, had become his constant comfort & companion. Once the adoption pre-reqs were completed, and we passed as “parents” both angels came home, and have saved us from the dark abyss we were falling into. The “rescued” are actually the “RESCUERS”, and I can’t imagine my life without them. Having been blessed by dogs from the age of 10 (now 60+), I have found no “challenges” to be much different, nor more demanding than any of my prior 13 “angels”, and would recommend this option, assuming the human is truly searching for a “family member”, NOT a “pet” to fill a transitory desire of some human member. “Family”, human or other, is a permanent choice to love, in all circumstances.


    Jimmy Jennings Reply:

    Loved your story so much.
    I’ve been thinking about getting a shelter dog but i am concerned how my Molly dog will react as she is just now going on 10.
    Molly and I live alone and we are together 24/7 and I love her so so much to the point I sometimes cry thinking if I ever lost her well, you understand.
    Years ago when my best buddy Stubby dog had to be put to sleep because of cancer I did not fair very well for months and months and told myself never another dog will I get.
    Was at my son’s home looking over his dog Ruby (a Rotty) and her new litter of pups (Rottweiler/Golden Retriver mix)he was giving away.
    My grand daughter was carrying around the so called runt of the litter, very very small compaired to the other pup’s and didn’t look like her mother, brothers or sisters at all.
    All the pups looked just like Rottweilers, black and big. The little runt looked like a very short haired Golden retriever.
    Alex keeps saying grandpa please hold her. No Alex not right now and after her many attempts and my many refusals Alex walks by and just puts the dog in my lap.
    OK! I’ll hold her, however I made the mistake of loving on her a good little bit, Well the little runt came home with me that day.
    Took me a month to come up with a name for her and I tried every name until bang! “MOLLY” pops into my hard head. Molly has been the most wonderful girl and by the way she is a very big dog.
    I am able to care for two dogs alright, I just don’t know how Molly would feel about it. Molly does fine with other dogs that come through my yard on ocassions, you know the typical dog sniffing, barking how do you do sort of thing but will at time chase others off the property. Molly is a total inside the house dog and has never spent a day or night outside. I just perfer my dogs to be with me in the house. Love all the stories on this web site. Sorry for being so long winded, I don’t see or talk with to many people. God bless you and yours. Forgive me of bad spelling and sentance structure. Jimmy and Molly in Bryant, Arkansas


  2. Mary says:

    I have adopted 3 re3scue dogs from an animal organisation and I can tell u that there were some issues but once they were worked on to sort out it has being heaven. I would not exchange my 3 rescues for any other dogs in the world. I think that rescue dogs be it from a shelter or a rescue organisation is even more thankful for u showing them love and them showing it to u that they are more loyal in the end.


    Martha Reply:

    My hustand and I adopted a male chihuahua from a rescue worker when he was on his way to another state. He has been the most wonderful companion to us. At first he was very skiddish as though he felt we might mistreat him. Now, he is one of the most wonderful “friends” we have ever had. Within 2 weeks after getting him (without any intention of getting another dog)
    a tri-color chihuahua was literally dropped in her laps. She is a hoot! We have laughed at her till our bellies ached. She and the other dog get along beautifully.


  3. Teresa says:

    I work for a rescue group and we have adopted out many dogs. We adopted one and we foster another (our second foster). Shelter dogs are great! I think they know they are being rescued and are so grateful. I ahve always had rescue/mixed breed dogs, even when I was young, and they have always been wonderful, loving companions!


  4. Wolffy says:

    I take only wolf hybrids from shelters. It seems lots of people have romantic ideas about “having” a wolf dog, but there are few of us who have years of experience living with these wonderful beings.

    Wolf hybrids have extra problems which put them into the euthanisation file. First, if they have any behavior problems, the wolf part of their heritage is invariably (and wrongly) blamed, which makes it easy to justify killing them. Humans are plain stupid about wolves, on the whole, and ours is a species that thinks killing is an answer to a lot of issues, even those they themselves create. For example, plenty of people imagine that wolf hybrids necessarily make “good watch dogs” and are disappointed when a wolf hybrid puppy is interested in love, play, and a comfy bed instead of attacking instruders. In more than forty years of living with wolf hybrids, I have turned away every idiot looking for an aggressive “watch dog” and have never let a single puppy go to a human I suspected might let my wolf-husky babies be untrained, unloved, or unwisely bred.

    Second, a lot of wolf hybrids fall into the Big Black Dog Syndrome. Apparently we humans are instinctively more afraid of big black dogs than of any other, and these are the dogs most likely to be euthanised. Our dear Major, a seven-year-old black wolf-shep who was gaunt and stinky and naked from neglect when we took him on, became one of our town’s most beloved and familiar figures (and even a popular writer!), his gracious presence welcome anywhere. His funeral was better attended than most humans’–yet he had been marked for death when we adopted him, just because he was big and black, old and smelly. All he needed was love and a wash (okay–a dozen washes and some supplements)to turn into a furry prince of hearts.

    Similarly, gorgeous Tyee, a 100-pound rambunctious teenager brimming with play and kisses and good times, was on his way to the lethal needle because his “owner” wouldn’t pay the $800 price on his head. Why the fine? Because Tyee, then bearing the moniker “Mikey”, had a habit of taking off on his own when not getting the companionship he needed–he probably got more love from the pound-keeper than from his humans! Now he walks beautifully on the lead and is admired by all.

    Mind you, wolf hybrids are not for you unless you are prepared to add a wolf as family member who will join your life in the den, i.e., your house.Take your furry friend everywhere with you and involve him or her in every aspect of your life–or don’t take on this canine heart only to break it when you realise you can’t fulfill the human end of the bargain. Wolf hybrids need companionship, movement, and fun, in that order.If you need a number one pal, there’s no better friend. If your time and attention is limited, however, do them a favor and leave them in the pound for the rescuers.


    Amy Reply:

    My father and younger brother each had a wolf hybrid (wolf/Malamute)about 20 years ago, that I carried in my coat to the bus stop with my young children when the pups were 8-10 weeks old. They ‘talked’ constantly and told me all about everything they saw and experienced. When they were older they would tell me over the phone when Dad called. I particularly remember listening to to them talk about their first snowstorm. My dad’s wolf made friends with a rescued mallard duck who was living at my neighbor’s house being rehabbed until he was old enough to release in the wild. The wolf would “escape” from our house during his two-week visit and go lie in the duck’s wading pool with him. The duck would swim around him or climb up and sit on his back. Your description of wolf hybrids fits the two in our family perfectly.


    Victoria Pinkerton Reply:

    What a wonderful little story. These dogs are obviously glorious, intelligent beings and the most wonderfully loyal companians.


    Victoria Pinkerton Reply:

    Glad to see you are so selective with those that adopt puppies from you. I constantly wonder what makes some people tick; they will aquire a “companian” animal (cat or dog) then leave it outside on its’ own all day (and night). We had friends that had a beautiful pit bull x – a really lovely natured dog. The dog had a path worn in their (boring) back yard – from “pacing” around. Then one day, this dog really lost it, and demolished the large rear security (screen) door. She was clearly saying “I want in, I want to be in there WITH YOU GUYS!!!!” They have a rather new, modern home, with all living areas ceramic tiles, I failed to see what harm this dog would do, being allowed to come into the living area, to sit on her bed, just be with her “companians.” Anyway, this dog was taken to our local (RSPCA) shelter (where I voluntered actually) – then came up the drive the NEXT DAY to get a replacement for the lovely girl they surrendered. We had to explain that being a Pit Bull x we could not rehome her, and asked them to re-think their actions – but no go. Due to this and some other things involving animals we are no longer close friends!! Keep up your good work for those glorious animals.


  5. Ricki Goodman says:

    I fully support adopting shelter dogs and agree with and support this article 100% ! i volunteer with Labrador Rescue and Rehoming in South Africa and we are always trying to rehome shelter dogs as a priority. Thanx for good sense and good reading !


  6. Mary Boyce - known as Billie says:

    I could never work in a re-home dogs institue, why ? because I would want to take every single one of them home with me. I absolutely adore dogs, and though my last three have been westies over the years, I love all dogs, no matter their size shape or appearance. The love and companionship they give back to we humans is beyond compare.

    It actually not only angers me but physically upsets me when I hear about people getting rid of their dogs, and I honestly think they should be fined a large amount of money for doing this. But of course, rather than pay a fine no doubt they would then do something terrible to the animal, like dump it on the highway. It truly breaks my heart when I read stories like these.

    I would just like to say that I respect and appreciate good people like yourselves who work at rehoming these dear animals. But somehow I do wish it were made harder to buy or get a dog in the first place.

    Lets hope that one day those people who got rid of the dog because it did not match the carpet, one day have kids of their own, and please God lets hope that their children are Holy Horrors, dropping everything on the carpet from food to ink and leaving terrible stains, then justice will have been done.

    Again thank you all you hard working kind hearted people that help get these precious animals adopted into good homes.


  7. Sandra says:

    It was rather a coincidence to receive your email on the subject of shelter dogs today, as just this afternoon, I brought home my new 7 month old female husky from The Blue Cross Animal Shelter here in Victoria, Australia. She is beautiful and has a lovely temperment. I am looking forward to showering her with a lot of love.


  8. danielle says:

    i whould defntely get a shelter dog and the dog i have right now is from the pound and i defntley whould get a nother dog from the pound i will never buy a puppy from the pet store because those puppys are from a puppy mills i and i will never ever buy in to that i whould buy my dog lucy and i whould do anything for lucy lucy is the best dog from the pound l love lucy and i think she is more apricitave of everthing we have given her


  9. Gill says:

    Hi, I’d just like to say that I first rescued a dog from our local rspca shelter 17 years ago. It was my very first dog but I couldn’t bear the thought of buying a dog when there were so many dogs in need of a home. Jaz was a wonderful jack russel / collie cross who loved to play but was very nervous of men and certain noises and showed signs of toy posession. We found some very good local dog trainers and over time and with a lot of input these problems disappeared. 18 months later we rescued a besenji collie cross called Snoop who had been neglected and would eat anything including cigarette ends. Again with time and training Snoop learned to trust. Both these wonderful dogs enjoyed agility and when we had two children we took advice about how to introduce the dogs to children and ensure this process went well and was safe for all. Snoop lived until 14 and Jaz until 17. We then rescued a labrador/collie pup about a year ago and a collie pup a few weeks ago. We have had so much success with clicker taining these dogs and would highly recommend this training process.
    As you can see, we have had four very successful experiences, however I believe there are many factors to consider before rescuing a dog
    1. Be aware that you will need to spend a lot of time training (as with any dog)
    2. Are you aware of the dog’s history and prepared to put in the extra time to your dog overcome any problems they may have.
    3. Does your family situation suit the dog and vice versa.
    4.I would also suggest that you do not adopt a dog with many or serious problems if this will be your first dog as I believe that these dogs need the benefit of an experienced dog handler in order to give them the best possible chance in life.


  10. Bob says:

    I have a 12 year old Kelpie cross [Kelpie is Australian breed of sheep dog, bred from border collies]. This fellow is crossed with something bigger and stronger than a little kelpie and was four and a half months old when we got him from the refuge.
    He has been the most wonderful dog over the years, with a beautiful temperament and nature, and is living out his old age with young adults he grew up with.

    In contrast, I have two border collie – kelpie cross two-and-a-half year olds, who, while also having the wonderful nature of the old kelpie cross, are insecure in the presence of other dogs, presumably because of early separation from siblings and mother [4 and 6 weeks] combined with lack of ‘puppy school’.

    While all three dogs were ‘unwanted’, the refuge dog at four-and-a-half months was always a more settled dog than the two way-too-young pups.

    In any case, let’s adopt unwanted dogs, and be aware that some need more work than others [like my youngsters].

    Now 63 years of age, I’ll probably be 75 or more when I get my next dog.It will be an adult with a gentle nature – maybe an ugly old thing, but I’ll love it and I’ll save it from the needle.


    Lucy Reply:

    I adopted a mix Lab, who is now a year old. We adopted her when she was 8 weeks, she is very aggressive, and constinantly jumps on the doors, wanting to come in from the Garage. We keep her in the garage during the day or when we are not home, only to give her some space, so she is not stuck in her kennel all day. We play with her, but she just keeps jumping on us, and when we don’t want to play anymore, she barks aggressively. She is very strong, but she is getting the hang of things, but is just too aggressive and hyper.


    Barb Reply:

    She’s probably lacking the closeness of the “pack”. Being isolated in a garage all day long and when she’s with you she’s kept in a kennel – she’s not getting the love that she’s desiring and needing – ergo – she’s jumping on you – that’s not aggression, that’s a plea for “give me some loving.” Labs ar not usually aggressive.


    Laura Reply:

    You shouldn’t feel sorry for your dog having been in a kennel. They feel secure in the kennel walls. You need to purchase a kennel for her. The garage is TOO BIG an area. I have 2 dogs (german shepherd’s) and they each have a kennel and they willingly go into it when we go out. The kennel is their “bedroom” of sorts. Don’t put any toys in the kennel. Train Train Train. Take some books out of the library.
    Good Luck!


    Carol Reply:

    My lab mix is now 2 years old. When I go to Petsmart the staff will say there’s the ‘good lab’. I never had a lab before, but apparently they can be very hyper at least for the first 3 years of age.
    I found that training classes and agility classes has helped with the crazy nature of the breed. Or as my instructor said many times dogs respond to be given a job. It keeps the mind busy on positive activities.
    Good luck with your lab mix.


    ed Reply:

    same here – ours is a 10monthlab colie mix and acts the very same way!!!


    SANDY Reply:

    Hello Lucy,
    I adopted a 4 year old German Shepherd dog in Australia. When he arrived we noticed that he had a beautiful temperament with us, but wanted to attack every dog and human in sight. We found a very good trainer (ESSENTIAL), worked with him and gave him a lot of exercise and love. In just 10 months, we have a beautiful, well behaved dog. It is all down to the TRAINING and what YOU are prepared to put it. If you put in the work, I guarantee you a well balanced dog who becomes a true friend. Good luck and keep trying as it is worth the effort.
    p.s. The neighbours complained of barking while we were out and we relented to using a bark collar – it worked after a short while, – it was humane – and I am now a convert. We rarely use it now!


    Elsa Reply:

    Lucy 8 week old puppies are seldome agressive it just puppy behavour.and it sounds like you didn’t start your training early enough. It’s not too late though. Get a good trainer and start the work now. Puppies don’t raise themselves they need training and boundries.


  11. Darren Baker says:

    I was thinking about buying a puppy from a pet store but until i realised that i could maybe adopt a adult dog and thats onething i can certainly do as from end of October thats when and if my landlord gives me permission to do so i think that pet stores are actually asking way to much from people


    Minette Reply:

    Go to a shelter! You will be happy you did and NEVER get a dog from a pet store 😉


    Chris Reply:

    If you are looking for a puppy, shelters have those too. Getting an adult means getting what baggage they come with, although not always bad. I adopted 2 2year olds. One was just great and the other needed a little help coming around. My last 2 were shelter puppies and were fabulous and pure breeds. A borger collie and a lab. Puppies do go through distrutive stages though that’s why I wnet for older this time. You will be happy with a shelter.


    Dale Reply:

    Please don’t go to a pet store. Most of those pets are from puppy mills. Go to a shelter or a rescue.


  12. Erika Beckers says:

    Three years ago I adopted a 5 Month old Maltese and he turned out to be a “Person” We have so much fun with him and today he is a Therapy Dog.
    One year ago I adopted Doobie, a Shepherd/Colly mix, he is an escape artist but with so much charm and energy to run, he is a real lover.
    Half year ago I adopted Romeo, a pure breed German Shepherd and very beautiful.
    Romeo was abused and is aggressive, but at home he is a sweethard and when you see them playing together, it is pure joy. With Romeo I am now by a professional Trainer and it gets better and better. Romeo comes from a German Shepherd Recue.He was not trained, not sociolized. The Rescue had him one year because he has EPI (Exocrene Pancreatic Insufficiency) what means that the pancreas is not able to produce Ezymes and the food cannot be digested. The Dog needs Enzymes put in his food. Otherwise the food goes right through his
    body and he would starve to death. He is now fine with the Enzymes, learnes very good, is very smart and is easy to train. He is now 3 1/2 years old and has a long happy life in front of him. I am 72 years old and without them my life would be very lonesome. Erika


  13. Donna says:

    I adopted a Greyhound 5 yrs ago. She is the smartest, sleak and beautiful and the most adorable pet I have ever owned. She is loyal and motivates me to walk. She is a wonderful companion.


    Pam Reply:

    And the nice thing about greyhounds is that most will already leash and crate trained!Very sweet dogs and very low maintenance
    once the are older. A few little walks and they are couch potatoes the rest of the day!


  14. Peggy Chambers says:

    I have three dogs total, my chi-named Bandit was 3 months old and unbeknowst of me was a puppy mill dog. Poor thing had never seen the outdoors we discovered the first day. He was amazed & unsure of the sun, grass, birds and quickly became a great little guy now at 6+ yrs old. My second dog Bella was 7wks old when I got her from the humane society. She is a Beagle mix, and a little over 1 1/2 yrs old now, looks like a lab with daschound legs. She is very affectionate, loves the grandson, she lets him crawl all over and listens and comes when called. Now my third baby he was rescued from a shelter in TN where he was going to be euthanized as a owner surrender. Poor Bear has been through alot in his short little life, he is estimated to be between 1 & 2yrs of age. A cattlehound/terrier mix, I have had him going on 3 months, his leg was broken at the growth plate, healed & never fixed so his knee is extended out. He has buck shot throughout his poor body, was never a house dog, apparently didn’t know much about grass. His first day home looked for concrete in the back yard to go potty, backed up to our fire pit. Bear is quickly learning to go outside potty, his crate is his safety net. When we come home he grabs our arms with his front paws and hugs us, while whinning. Everyday he opens up more, walks great on a leash, glad we saved him, he’s becoming an asset to our lives.


    Jaye Reply:

    What beautiful stories of rescues by someone who is undoubtably a beautiful-souled person. Bless you for saving these dogs. Your dogs, including Bear, must love you dearly.


  15. John says:

    We adopted a shelter dog at one time. The dog would not stay in the house, open the door and he would crash by you to get out. Open a window and he would break through the screens to get out. Put him in the fenced in yard and he would leap the 6 foot fence. Nipping the kids all the time, when they would sit down on a chair, nipping the tops of their heads. Should have known when we picked him up, the shelter lady was keeping 15 dogs in her garage in crates, the sheltering program was paid by the town and they in turn paid the shelter families. so this lady was paid 36k per year to store dogs in her garage. answer no I would not go that route again. We adopted a hunting dog that was gun shy and he was wonderful. We bought a dog from a breeder and have him now, he is great


    Geraldine Salvani Reply:

    Shame on you. Don’t encourage the puppy mills. Too many really good dogs are being euthanized everyday. I have a friend who got a sick dog from a puppy mill. So you never know.


    John Reply:

    We got our last dogfrom a reputable breeder. We got the hunting dog from a hunter who was going to put him down because he was gun shy. Both were great dogs. We concluded that the shelter dog was in the shelter because his owner could not deal with the problems, one reason why so many dogs go to shelter. Shame on you for thinking that shelters do not consciously pass on problem animals to unsuspecting adopters. Why they are in shelter should be examined


    Elsa Reply:

    John you picked the wrong shelter to adopt from. Not all shelters are created equal. As with everything you have to do your homework.
    You could still have gone the rescue route. there are many breed specific rescues and you could have gotten your hunting dog there. These dog are useally in a foster home before adopted out so their temperment and behavour is well know and there will be NO surprisses.


  16. We adopted a dog this past June. We went to a No Kill Shelter and looked at several dogs. During our visit we met Jackson, a mixed breed. He is a Black dog and we were told that Black dogs were the last to get adopted. Not sure why, but we feel in love with him at our first meeting. He is about 4 years old and a real sweetheart. He has the best personalitly. Loves to play and is very well behaved. He has one bad habit and that is jumping on people. I’m working on that. He is good with everyone that comes over and good with other dogs. The No Kill Shelter had got a call from a local Animal Shelter that was full and could not keep Jackson. So they went and got him and another dog that was running the streets together. Jackson was with this shelter for 18 months before we adopted him. I have had dogs my whole life, sometimes up to four at a time. We will always get our dogs from a shelter. Jackson is a very good dog and he deserves to be in a home that loves him. We are thinking of adopting the other dog that he was running the streets with. We are told they are good pals. She is a black dog too. It’s sad to think people judge a dog by its color.


    Geraldine Salvani Reply:

    Good for you Jeanne. I understand that the reason black dogs don’t get adopted is because a lot of people adopt based on photos and black dogs don’t photograph as well as lighter colored dogs. The black dogs sometimes look ferocious or mean in photos. We have 2 dogs. One, a pekingnese adopted from a rescue group at 5 years old and one, a shih tzu from a shelter 6 years old. We love them both. But we are having trouble with the shih tzu because she although she is slightly bigger than the peke she is afraid of her. And the peke is an alpha female so she takes advantage of the fear but we are working on that.


  17. Mary says:

    I always adopt shelter dogs, the current one I have is a Dutchy (Dutch Shepard) named Tony. He has been a challange but worth every minute. Not anyone can adopt this type of dog so I shutter to think what would have happened to this bright, loving, pushy, adorable dog.


  18. Chris says:

    I adopted my first dog, Ginger Meggs – a red heeler cross, when he was about 5 years old. He was nearly deaf by then, but was smart, learnt quickly and had not a single negative trait. I even taught him to love my cat. I have a lovely photo of them both drinking milk from his bowl. He was an absolute joy and I treasured every moment we had. He was abandoned, and to this day I will never understand why. These dogs definately deserve loving homes.


  19. Zoe says:

    Mine is a not so happy story.
    We adopted a 2 year old Lhaso Apso Cross from the pound.
    On first look he was a happy, quite laid back dog that seemed to have excellent social skills with people as well as other dogs. Unfortunately, the damage had been done to this dog that was not even apparent to a qualified dog trainer. He had been left on his own for such a long period of time that he would not or could not create a bond with a human being, no matter how much I tried.
    He had a dominant personality and even though we had him sterilised as soon as we got him, it was far too late. I worked every day with an RSPCA dog trainer for 11 months to try and show this dog that I could be trusted, basic obedience and that I was the head of the household, not him.
    Though he learned many things and at times seemed to be coming along in leaps and bounds, he would still have his lapses where he would snap at my mum or me for reasons not apparent to us. He was a resource guarder and a fierce one at that. He bit my mum twice (not badly) and myself about 7 or 8 times. But I persevered, I thought if I gave him enough love and guidance I would overcome these behaviour problems.
    I was consulting an animal behavouralist by this time and adhering to the advice given to me. Then one night, for no apparent reason, he was lying on the floor and I walked past him about half a meter away and he just snapped and attacked me. I say attacked, because that’s exactly what he did. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed anyone who told me what he did. He latched on to my foot, clamping down on my big toe with his back teeth and started shaking his head from side to side. I was so shocked that I did not feel any pain at the time, I was quite calm looking back now, I said “Micky NO!” He then let go and wandered off as if nothing had happened. I ended up with stitches and a tetness shot.
    I felt I had no choice, the following day I took him to my vet and told her what had happened and she said that the best thing for all involved was to put him to sleep. I was devastated, I felt like I had betrayed the dog, that I should have given him another chance. It didn’t matter what others said, I still blamed myself. Consequently it put me off adopting from the pound or shelter.
    12 months later we bought a puppy (Tibetan Spaniel), she’s absolutely gorgeous, but I forgot how much hard work puppies are! She is worth it though! It’s a double edged sword for me because I know of many people who have adopted from shelters and have ended up with a lovely natured, behaviour-problem free dog.
    If I was to get another dog, I would go to a shelter, but one where the animals have been temper tested, not just to any old pound. I had my fingers burnt, but learned an important lesson aswell.


    Minette Reply:

    I totally understand and I agree with you! Good people sometimes get naughty dogs! I like shelters that temperament test!


    CJ Reply:

    Sometimes dogs have genetic temperament problems. It is likely that your dog just had some anomaly that you couldn’t fix. You tried, good for you. When dogs attack like that, after so much work and companionship, it means something else is wrong…..keep on trying, dogs need folks like you!


  20. Mary Mitchell says:

    We adopted a little Shihtzu from the shelter about three months ago and she is the most wonderful dog we have ever owned. We have always gotten “used” dogs and have had a total of 9, but none can compare with little Tootie. She has good manners, is house trained and loves everyone she meets. When we go for a walk she won’t let anyone go by without them stopping to pet her. We had talked about getting a puppy this time, but we are so glad we got Tootie from the shelter instead. She is 8 years old so of course we won’t have her as long as we would have a puppy, but we will enjoy her every day that we have her.


    Christine Reply:

    Hi Mary
    I was so pleased you rescued Tootie. I have two Shih-Tzu one I have had from puppy from a renowned breeder and another that was dumped at nearly 5 weeks-people bought her from a market and wanted to take her to the UK two days later!!!!She was taken to a rescue centre but as she was so young they took her to vet.who looked after her until she was 9 weeks and then I took her home and she is adorable and now 16 months old. What heartless beings some humans are for in her first short 8 weeks had already had 4 different people looking after her…I have another dog a Spitz x pomeranian who is now 3 years and found dumped near a highway! she was picked up by a rescue centre. She is adorable and I have had her now for 2 years. Again, how can human be so heartless. If ever caught these peple should be dropped off in the middle of nowhere to see if they can survive in the same circumstances!!!!
    Enjoy Tootie all the while you can she will and surely is giving you so much love in return. You surely can get a puppy now!!! Having had many dogs for many years of all shapes and sizes I believe that of all small dogs Shih-Tzu’s have the biggest hearts and love and companionship to give.


  21. Sarah Ali says:

    We adopted a puppy from a shelter in Arkansas a month ago…we live in Boston. We found him through the perfinder website. To be honest, we were looking for a small dog because of our current living situation. What we were told was a Boston terrier/French bulldog mix, turned out to be a dog that looks like a lab mix. His mom was 25 lbs full grown, whereas my little fur baby is already 20 lbs at 3 months old. Honestly though, best decision we err made. Even though we were in for a surprise, but our puppy –no mater why he is or whatever he looks like is the sweetest/smartest thing ever. I have to add that mixed breeds aren’t only smarter, they have less health issues and live longer as well. We did Chet’s clicker training and it’s the best thing ever! He had so many commands down at 9 weeks that after 11 weeks we trained him to roll over, which he learnt in just TWO 5 min training sessions!!

    Also feels good to know we saved a life. And when there are people who dedicate their lives to such a service, you know they’re wonderful. Our encounter with the shelter, even though it was all via email, was the bet experience. Hassle free and she was the nicest person ever.

    I just want to take a moment and thank all the wonderful people out there who dedicate their lives to save animals, and become their voice when the animals don’t have one of their own.

    Thank you also for finding and giving us our baby…the smartest, cutest puppy ever!


  22. Hazel says:

    My last dog was a rescue dog with three legs.It was presumed by the rescue he had been used for dog fighting or badger baiting.He was dumped on the motorway.Oh boy did he have problems. No one wanted a dog that could cost money due to his leg.We can all be a little nieve where animals are concerned and think “love” cures all and it takes more than that.He nearly wrecked the inside of my house in three months.The rescue didn’t offer any help and said he had been in the rescue for 18 months and had become institutionalised and if I took him back (there was no question of that) he would have to be euthanised.It took two years of trying different things and “patience – lots of it”.I couldn’t leave him in the house at all so had a run built outside with a kennel for during the day. When I moved house the house had a courtyard with locked gates and his kennel. I placed the kennel next to the back door so he knew I came out of that door and would go back through that door. He was 14 when he dies last year and was it worth it ABSOLUTELY. He was so gently and loving – I’ll say it was all worth it.
    I now have another “three legged” rough haired 2yr old Jack Russell.Again no one wants an imperfect animal – their loss.In my opinion rescue animals know they have been rescued.


  23. Charline Snyde says:

    I am a 74 year old young lady, I was in rescue for many years and have had many dogs come through my home. I have loved every one of them and placed them in good homes after I had all of their vetting done. I now take in German, German Shepherds, no matter what their temperment and if I can settle them down, make working dogs out of them and I have to have my own service dog, so if they are one of the few, I train them and give them to deserving people that need a service dog. I normally take only females because they are easier to work with and train. I love each of them and so far have placed 5 working dogs in homes where they are needed. I don’t ask for money for this but it does take several months to train them. I have a beautiful American Tundra for my personal dog, and each of these babies have come from shelters or people give them up because they don’t have time, they ruin the house but the human forgot to take the time to train it or ever let it inside, my grandkids don’t like it, I guess I have heard every excuse in the world, it isn’t the 4 legged human that is at fault most of the time or 99% of the time, it is the 2 legged human that sees this very disciplined dog on TV and wants one just like that, never realizing it took many hours of patience and love to get the dog to that point. Yes, I take dogs from shelters and vet them immediately so that they can become the super 4 legged human in someone’s life or just stay here to live out their life with me, because some that I take will never be a good candidate to go somewhere else because of the abuse that it had gotten before I got it and they are safe here and loved.


  24. Irene says:

    I have always had shelter or otherwise unwanted dogs, some adopted as puppies and some older. Each has ranked as “the best dog I’ve ever had” during their life with me. While each had his or her own personality, they all share having a sweet temperament. While I usually have only one dog at a time, I did have a Brittany, Charlie, and a Sheltie Terrier mix, Katie at the same time. Katie was 1/2 to 1/3 the size of Charlie, but would grab his ear and walk him around the house. They provided hours of hysterical laughter with their antics. Bottom line, I would not give up the joy that anyone of these precious creatures brought to my life for anything and would certainly encourage folks to adopt and save these wonderful pets.


  25. Anne says:

    I work with a rescue group and all my cats and dogs are rescues. I would never purchase a dog. I see so many people at the local big box pet supply store walking around with their little trophy dogs that they have purchased from back yard breeders. And I have heard the horror stories of the genetic problems that many of these dogs endure. Back yard breeders know nothing about proper breeding protocols. They are just in it to make some money. Please save a dog’s life and adopt a dog or cat from your local rescue groups.


    Nancy Reply:

    I agree about store bought dogs. I talked to a woman who spent $1,200 on one and had to finance it. She could have bought a dog and donated the rest to rescue 10 other dogs. We lost one dog from a rescue center that we had 12 years of joy with. We had already rescued one companion for him. And, in honor of his memory, we rescued another one. All mixed breed. All sweet as can be and grateful to have a forever home. I only adopt rescue dogs.


  26. steve crye says:

    I work very hard rescuing dogs from kill shelters around the country, mainly German Shepards and labs to train as therapy dogs for our vetrains. yes its a crapshoot but no more so than buying a dog from a backyard or puppy mill breeder, in fact I have found a lot less problems with shelter dogs than with breeder dogs, who should be put out of busniss for animal crulity, but thats another issue.At the moment I have 6 German Shepard rescues in training an up for adoption and 2 more of my own also rescues and have made the decission never to buy another dog from a breeder. Please dont get me wrong there are some very good and responsable breders out there. The majority of the dogs in shelters are there because people dont know enough about the breed of dog they get and then dont train them resulting in problems. Simply put the problem isnt with the dog its with the owners.Please take the time and spend the effort to train your dog no matter where you get it.


  27. Niara says:

    I would love to get a dog and this article definitely has me thinking of getting a shelter dog. Over the years, I have found that adding another companion animal or parrot to the household always changes my relationship in some way with my current non-human companions, not always for the better.

    The only non-human companion, and best friend/family in my life right now is my Timneh Grey, Bodhi. We are incredibly close. So if I add a dog to our lives, my plan is to take Bodhi to meet any potential dogs so I can get a sense of how Bodhi and the dog will react or respond to each other. I’d like Bodhi in a sense to help me pick our dog companion. It’s very important to me that we are a happy family, and that my relationship with Bodhi remains close and loving, just with a loving dog added in!

    I love to go hiking and would dearly love to have a dog to go with me on my hikes, I’d do a whole lot more hiking if I had a dog too. He or she would be ready to go any time, where sometimes it’s not easy to find a human friend to go at the times I’d like to just spontaneously go.

    Any feedback on this would be great!


  28. Zalia says:

    we adopted alittle shitzu cross at age four and a half, he is now seven and a real delight to have. He had been at the shelter for at least six weeks so I knew his days were numbered. It is a rare occasion to hear him bark, he is friendly but ignores people and other dogs once he has met them. He is my best friend. He is a funny little guy ashe eats his food while I am making supper and then waits until we are finished eating and we give him whatever vegetables we are having so I think we are keeping him healthy. I guess we entertain quite a few people in this little town as they all seem to wath for he & I to take our walk every morning. In all honesty I have to say I didn’t want a dog and my husband tricked me into going to the shelter one day, guess he knew I wouldn’t come away empty handed and I am very happy with the results.


  29. Corina Zalace says:

    My vet rescued a one and a half year old female schauzer/terrier mix, Lexie, from the local animal shelter last year and Lexie was one day away from being euthanized. She was found as a stray and had been attacked at some point by a large dog (?) which is evident by the large teeth scars around her neck.When I saw this beautiful black dog with a front white bib on its chest, I decided to make her my service dog. I am in a wheelchair from polio since age two and had my whole back fused,so picking things up that I drop off my lap onto the floor is quite difficult. I decided to teach her to pick things up for me that I drop off my lap, which is often. She learned very quickly and to her it is a game. For me it is a true blessing. She does great in social settings like stores and doctor’s offices, so she is a delight to take with me everywhere. I even get comments like “I wish my kids were that obedient”. I registered her with the Florida Service Dog Organization as a service dog in training and hope to get her tested in the near future so she will be a full fledged service dog. Even our Blue-Fronted Amazon approved of her eventually. She does really well on her long daily walks along side my electric wheelchair and is learning not to react to every dog, squirrel, butterfly, person or other critters that cross our path. Both my husband and I truly enjoy her.


  30. Chris says:

    Shelter dogs are the greatest dogs & the most appreciative.

    Every dog I have owned has been adopted & each and every one was uniquely perfect.

    I currently own an incredible yellow lab / golden mix that I adopted from Tennessee. She is the most wonderful dog ever. I was able to speak w/ the “foster mom” that initially resucued her from the shelter, so I had some insight as to how she may behave. Kaya is unbeliveably well behaved for a young dog (she just turned 2. I adopted her at 1yr) Apparently she was about to be euthanized & the shelter reached out to Kaya’s initial “foster mom” because they just didn’t want to put her down. What a great move that was, as she has been an absolute bright spot in my life.

    You really do get the greatest, most appreciative buddies from the shelters. I can’t ever see a need to run to a “pet store” to buy a dog when there are millions waiting to give their love and affection to a great home! Get out there and save an animal’s life if you are considering an addition to your family. No doubt you will find a great companion and family member!


  31. Trish says:

    We’ve adopted both of our dogs as adults from a shelter. Our first was a 5 year old pure bred sheltie. what a perfect dog for us. She was already house broken, knew basic commands, and she was easy to teach new commands. She died 4 years ago, and this year we adopted another dog from the shelter. The shelter said she was a 2-3 year old miniature poodle. Turns out she’s a 2-3 year old Bichon… But, with a little clicker training, and a lot of love she’s turned into a pretty good dog for our family – though she’s still afraid of my husband.

    So, I highly recommend getting a shelter dog… You already know how big they’re going to be. And I think most dogs can be trained.


  32. Joan says:

    I would definitely adopt a shelter dog and have in the past. I took a 3 year old Yorkie that had been rescued. He was literally at death’s door when he was picked up. He was very badly maimed and very fragile. The rescue gave him to me and waived the fees because I was the only person that he would go to. This little fellow was so fragile the vets refused to put him under anesthetic to neuter him or do a much needed dental. He was definitely a special needs boy.
    It took a full year of hard work to get him to feel that he was part of my little pack. Despite being horribly maimed, he wanted to learn to do little tricks and became a sweet little peacock. He loved to pose for pictures with his Yorkie and Lhasa Apso sisters. Saddly, his condition took it’s toll on his little heart and he passed in his sleep, 3 years and 4 months after he joined our little family.
    I disagree with the idea that all puppies will be chosen at the shelter. Not all puppies that are pet store rejects even make it to the shelter. Many of these stores euthanize them directly when their time is up. I rescued one of these little puppies recently, a designer dog mishap. He was taken from his mother far too young and had not been socialized. These are deficiencies that can and will be overcome. This odd looking little fellow is becoming a little love bug and will make a delightful little companion.



  33. Veeda says:

    I refuse to get a dog from anywhere but a shelter.
    1. They’re cheaper
    2. Your saving a life
    3. You won’t be supporting the overcrowded, dirty, inhumane animal breeding places
    4. The satisfaction of saving a dog’s life and giving them a fresh new start is a feeling you can’t even explain



  34. Julie Norris says:

    I adopted my first rescue Schnauzer when he was 6 months old. Seems that the rescue dogs here have large adoption fees, for the first one the adoption fee was $250.00. I paid to neuter him, too. Now he is 11 years old. I just adopted my second rescue dog a Schna-a-dor, 1/2 schnauzer & 1/2 labrador. His adoption fee was $200.00. Then he had problem diearea, which cost $300. to cure, then by the time I neutered him and had his teeth sealed another $450.00 went out. So adopting a pet almost cost as much as buying that pure breed. But then the cost of shots and neutering are ontop of the pure bread fee. Also, the schn-a-dor was to be
    under 30 #’s but he is still growning, and may be 40 to 50#s. He has some problems, which I am working on, but He turned my 11 year old dog into an 11 month old pup in actions, Kola ( short for Kost of living adjustment)does try to rule the roost. But I do love him, and he has won my heart and Zandies heart too. I live alone and thes two pups make my day. I just had to get beyond the “price” of giving them both a forever home. I just want to have people know that nothing is for free. Someone has to pay to keep these dogs alive until they find that “Forever Home”
    But they are worth the cost and effort, they return that 1,000 times over with the love that they give you


  35. Penny says:

    My own shelter dog stories are a combination. I have had great dogs and some not so great. That being said the not so great are still here. I have a pitbull cross that is awesome and a shepard cross that should be a toy dog of some sort. He is overly friendly and wants to be on your lap constantly.
    With his size that can be intimidating for some but it is an issue we work on with him daily. He has come a long way,in his time here and will only continue to get better.
    I don’t understand the mentality of getting a pet then disposing of it when it is not convenient. It is a life time commitment.


    Joann Reply:

    I did not adopt a pet from a shelter but from a person who did not want him.
    He is a beautiful Jack/Chi.He was 7 mths old and a handful.9 yrs later I love him to death.We survived all the chewing and puppy behavior.
    Even if your dog has agression problems I think you can find ways to work with it.Consult the right people and try crate training.
    Good dogs get left at shelters because of all types of reasons,owners moving,elderly or sick,or just tired of having an animal(can’t imagine that).
    Do not give up on your animal.
    Do not buy cute puppies at a store,they can be sick and have other problems.Especially if full bred.
    You need to really want an animal to be part of your family!


  36. Kenneth says:

    I rescued a 5 week old Lab/St. Bernard mix puppy this last June. He is now 5 months old, weighs 50lbs, and is a great dog. He is a quick and eager learner, and a great companion! I say save a dog’s life, rescue/adopt your next pet and friend!


  37. Eileen says:

    My dog is a shelter dog who was in her last “showing”, that is, if nobody adopted her, she was going to the “E” room. Although, she still has some degree of separation anxiety, she is very intelligent, wonderful with children and is a good watchdog (not a good guard dog, fortunately). Her only real behavioral problem from what I can tell is that she is very stubborn.

    I would adopt a shelter dog, somewhere between 2-6 years old, because, as the blog post noted, what you see is what you get. I am not concerned about future health issues because I have full confidence in my ability to deal with them, being a health care practitioner myself. Puppies require a little more time than I have, so even a pup from a reputable breeder would be too much for me.

    I am saddened by the story of the 2-year old Yellow Lab who was surrendered because the dog’s fur didn’t match the carpet. My Lab was 2 when I adopted her and well, I just got used to black fur everywhere. A little more vacuuming is a small price to pay for a family member who is so unassuming that she gives unconditional love just for a bowl of kibble twice a day.


  38. DON says:

    I would adopt from a shelter. In fact I have adopted several shelter dogs.My last dog was a 12 year old black lab and that dog was the best dog we ever had the pleasure of adopting. He only lived a year and 1//2 after we got him, but what love and affection he gave every member of this family.


  39. Linda Costa says:

    I have three dogs, two of which were rescue dogs from a shelter. I got April(Beagle/Pointer mix) at 5 weeks old, she and her sister had been abandoned on a three lane highway in Kentucky. She is so loving and very easy to read. She knows how to communicate with us.

    Pepi(Lhaso/Poo)was a rescue from Puerto Rico. He was 1 1/2 years old and had been living on the streets. Its been two years now and he is such a changed dog from when we got him. It took a while before he would even trust, but it was worth the wait, he is now very loving.

    Bridgette was our first dog. My son bred mini dachshunds and we got her from him. Actually she was born in our car. She was the last of five pups. Believe it or not she is the alpha with the other dogs.

    They are all very precious to my husband and I.

    So to your question, I would definetly adopt a dog from a shelter if I did not have three already.


  40. Bill Oden says:

    My family and I have adopted 5 Shelter dogs over the years and all of them have been wonderful pets. All have been Beagles (or part Beagle) And since our children have grown up we now have adopted two of the most loving Beagles ever. If we outlive these two we will adopt another one, that is providing we still have time….


  41. Radoslava says:

    Yes,I would adopt dog from shelter.Lov e all dogs!R.


  42. Stephen says:

    I got my border collie from a puppy mill where she was born and where she was a breeder for two years. All of the dogs there were malnourished, filthy, and loaded with parasites. Fortunately the place was raided by the sheriff a few weeks after I got my dog, the owner arrested, and the 105 dogs rescued by real border collie rescues around the USA. My dog’s traumatic beginning left her fearful, but she is also very resilient and now, 3 years after coming home with me, she’s a fabulous dog. Dogs may come with baggage from their early experiences, but being the wonderful beings thay are, they can adapt and respond to care and love with love and great companionship.


  43. Jonita Garcia says:

    My last dog who passed away about 3.5 years ago was adopted from the shelter at 1.5 years old. She was a wonderful terri mix about 35 pounds and was one of the nicest dogs I have ever had. I took her to only one 6-week training class. She was good with all people and especially children. The dog I have now is a purebred weimeraner who was raised by me from a puppy and is much more difficult,even with much dog obedience training. I would definitely get a shelter dog, especially mixed breed again.


  44. Esta says:

    Our dog, Bella, was a SPCA pup adopted by us at 8 weeks old and we knew she was taken from her mom at 5 weeks. We had a suspicion that she would come with issues and we were looking for the right dog for us. We went to see her before she even got to the shelter intake as we had “friends in high places” (LOL) who knew we were looking. There were three of the litter to see and Bella was there, looked us in the eyes and we were smitten with her soul. She was dubbed the stubborn one by the foster dad who had observed her digging in her heels at every turn. But no matter… we knew that we were getting into a handfull… she’s half Cane Corso and half German Shepherd… which meant to us that she had a smart mind of her own and would lie on the floor near our feet all the time… she has been the hardest dog to train and equal to that the most loving dog that you can imagine. After five years of constant positive reinforcement training, she does come when she’s called, albeit after she stops for a drink of water… and is totally socialized, loving all who come her way and knowing when to back off if they are afraid of her size. Moral of the story… look in their eyes, see who you love and who loves you, and train them well …. I think you will never be sorry even if their hair does not match your carpet…buy a Dyson!


  45. Dianne says:

    I would definitely adopt a shelter dog. I have a Lab now that I adpted from our local shelter and she is very sweet. She even knew some basic tricks and wouldn’t get on the couch unless she was coaxed. She does have a sinus problem, which I wish I knew how she aquired, however, it seems to slowly but surely be getting better. She is also nice with other animals and is very non-aggressive. I’m sure there are some dogs from shelters that have more problems but you can get that with any new dog even if they are purchased from a reputable breeder. Shelter dogs are definetly worth adopting.


  46. Deb says:

    We adopted Maggie from our local Animal Rescue League. They said she was a one year old Yorkie Mix – turns out she is a Cairn Terrier. When we got Maggie, you could see her pink skin through her sparse sand colored hair. She had green paint on her face and ears. You could feel every bone in her body. Well, 8 months later, with grooming and lots of love, she is a beautiful puppy! Even our vet could not believe that such a gorgeous puppy was found at a Rescue League! A diamond in the rough – many people have told us! She is a great play pal for our 9 year old Yorkie.

    We would definitely adopt again from the Animal Rescue League! These dogs need forever homes with lots of love. You have no idea of what kind of treatment they had before they were rescued, how many meals they ate out of trash containers, or how many miles they walked in all kinds of weather. All they wanted was a good home and lots of love.


  47. Krystal says:

    I grew up with a shih tzu from a breeder, who was by far my favorite pet in childhood. However, we also had various other dogs from shelters, and they were all great dogs. And I’ve done volunteer work with shelters for years, so I knew when getting my own dog as an adult, we would adopt from a shelter. He’s a little 14lb, 1 yr. old black lab-dachshund mix. He was found as a stray, so we adopted him knowing that the shelter didn’t know much of anything about his temperament or his history. And we got lucky. 🙂 He is the kindest, sweetest dog. Incredibly easy to train and no bad behaviors (barking, chewing, digging, etc)… he only acts a little skittish on occasion. We love our little guy!


  48. Stephnaie says:

    6 out of the 8 dogs I have owned came from shelters or people who surrendered their dogs for various reasons. Their ages ranged from 4 months to 2 years. All of the dogs have been great. However, I must admit,I do prefer the older dogs. I only got the 4 month old because my husband wanted a puppy. I can tell you, a lot more work with a puppy. These dogs are also very healthy and they lived from 12 yrs to 17 years.

    When I lost my 17 year old last year I went back to the shelters. It took me visits to 4 shelters before finding my 2 new “pound puppies”

    I recommend everyone save an animals life and adopt a shelter dog.


  49. Diana Navon says:

    I have only had shelter or rescued dogs. Each one is differnt in so many ways, but they all have been wonderful. We adore them.


  50. Deanne Malloy says:

    We had a black Lab for 13 years and loved him. When he passed away, we adopted 2 yellow labs from a Lab Retriever Rescue. We love Labs! They are usually very smart and usually friendly. We find that the breed is also very puppy-like for about 3 years! We went to a breed specific rescue to find our two. The rescue group receives the dogs from other dog shelters. These dogs appear to be Labradors or Lab mix and the rescue group screen the people and place the dogs. Going through the “adoption” process, I believe adopting a human child is probably easier. 😉 Well worth the effort!

    We adopted a male on 10/10/10. He was about a year old. He was a runaway found on the street. He is very sweet and a beautiful dog. No telling how long he was on his own and what happened to him. He is afraid of everything: vacuum cleaners, water, pole to fetch things out of a pool, broom, loud noises, etc. He chews on shoes left on the floor but will leave them alone if we put the shoes on top of a shelf close to the floor. Oh, and he is the worst retriever… but, we love him! He knew a few basic commands when we got him… sit, come, hi-five… He hates water of any kind! He now knows a few other commands plus “Bang” play dead! More importantly, he knows the “wait” “stay” command! He no longer bolts out the door when we open it!

    We decided Matthias needed a friend so we adopted another dog on 1/3/11. This time a female from the same Lab Retriever Rescue. She was 7-months old at the time. From her appearance, I believe Maddie is a mix. Maddie is sweet and full of energy! She makes the Energizer Bunny look bad! Maddie was ignored as a puppy; her family did not have time for her and voluntarily relinquished her. Maddie craves attention. She would run after anything tossed until she drops if we let her. She loves the water and keeping out of the water is not easy! She and Matthias are inseparable. She swims, he watches. They make a great duo! Oh, since the dogs came from a rescue organization, they were neutered and spayed before we adopted them and tested for Heart worm. Both of our dogs tested negative for heart worm.

    Maddie was not housebroken and she knew NO commands when we got her! Being a puppy, she was actively chewing on everything! We take all new dogs to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up. We discovered that she had hook worms when we got her, which took a bit of time and money to clear up. Maddie now knows basic commands and she is finally housebroken! It took months to accomplish this; she used to pee inside all the time! She is sweet. Wants to please! She and Matthias are great together!

    Would I adopt from a shelter again? You bet!


  51. I have been helping home and train shelter dogs for a five years now and fully understand the issues that go along with taking a dog that has been surrendered for behavioural issues. I have adopted four of my own! However, most of the dogs I have helped train have simply lacked preparation. They haven’t gotten clear communication as to what is expected from them. The agency that I am volunteering with at the moment, takes stray dogs from Native Reserves and relocates them to good homes in more populated areas. These dogs have little exposure to indoor living, but also are free of many of the bad habits that many domesticated dogs come with. They have never gone to the bathroom indoors, so they likely won’t start. They have never walked on a leash, so have never LEARNED to pull. These dogs are such a pleasure to work with and are so well adjusted, calm and eager to please. It has been a real eye opener for me. For all adoptive parents, I always recommend reading “Love Has No Age Limit”, by Patricia McConnell and Karen London, a book available on-line that outlines welcoming an adopted dog into your home.


  52. Judi says:

    I once adopted a 3 month old Chow mix from our local shelter. She had been abused by a man and never did completely trust a man. However, she was totally dedicated to me and my sons. I had her for 15 years and felt so safe while I had ChaCha because I knew no one would have ever even dared to think of assaulting me. When I lost her, I lost a piece of my heart. Two years ago I found a beautiful wonderful dog on PetFinders that I immediately fell in love with her picture. Her owner drove her from the southern end of our state to my home to make sure she was going to a good home. Tassy and I are the very best of friends and I love her every bit as much as I did ChaCha. She is a mixed breed and is a big dog but I tell everyone she is just a big heart wrapped in fur! I recommend shelters or rescue dogs to everyone. They have been the best dogs I have ever had and have loved me with everything in them. Just as I have loved them. I would love to get another dog but my world is so perfect with Tassy that I wouldn’t want to upset the tranquility I share with Tassy.


  53. Marcy says:

    All of our dogs over the last 33 years have been rescue or shelter dogs.
    Everyone of them became a well loved member of our family. Only one did we have to ‘put down’ early because he bit a visiting child. Unfortunately that temperment was already in the dog but we definately gave him a chance.

    There is something so precious about a rescue/shelter dog. It’s as if they know they were rescued and become so loving and appreciative. Our last rescue 14 years ago(from a puppy mill) just died from heart issues
    and he was the best thing that happened to our family so yes, giving a shelter/rescue dog a second chance at being loved it so worth it.

    We never worried about the fur matching or impending health problems etc. Even now with our new puppy, she still needs lots of training and love to overcome her insecurities and untrained behaviour from her previous place but that’s OK. We know she will be worth the effort
    and it feels good to know we saved another animal.


  54. Debora says:

    We are looking for a dog and will definitely check the shelters, but with some hesitation. You see, we just had to part with our beautiful lab/mix. We got her from some people who had kept her chained up for hours on end. She was smart, loving, and tried hard to please. Except for one thing. Those hours on the chain caused her to be very leash agressive. No animal could approach us on a walk without a rip-roaring, snarling, teeth-baring episode. We employed 2 different trainers and spent thousands of dollars and a year of our life trying to re-train her…to no avail. We just loved her so dearly we were willing to try anything. Last week on a walk, we encountered a Rottweiler and Koda went ballistic. This time, in a fit of redirected agression, she turned and bit me. It’s a bad bite. Sadly, this was the sign to us that our efforts had failed. Koda is now living with another family who are working to home her on a farm, where she will never be on a tether again; and our hearts are broken. We are cautiously looking for a new best friend, and will consider the shelters, but will have to be certain that our new pet does not come with this terrible piece of baggage. Please, please, stress to your readers…CHAINING A DOG IS ABUSE!


  55. William (Bill) Banks says:

    I’m of the opinion that adopt with caution. My wife and I are in our eightys and we went through an agency who rescued dogs from “Puppy Mills”. We adopted a little 5 yr old Yorkshire Terrier. She is the sweetest dog that anyone would would ever want, however, she has problems. Since we have had her (over 2 MONTHS), She has never barked. We learned that her breeder had inserted a pipe down her throat and crushed her voice box (larnyx), in order to keep her from barking. She is not house broken, as she, in her whole life, always used a pad. I purchased your dog training and sitting on command, with a clicker, is all we have been able to accomplish. We keep taking her outside in the grass and she simply has no desire to go. She has pottied a couple of times, but grass is a total stranger to her. She plays with no toys, will not chase a ball, and seems content to just be near us and sleep. With the exception of sitting on command, we have had no luck in any advanced training, such as house breaking, playing, Leash training, etc. All she seems to do is eat and sleep. I’m guessing that she probably had a litter of pups, everytime she was in heat.

    She is a wonderful little dog, and we certainly intend to keep her, but we do not seem to be able to train her. One problem, regarding training, was not finding a treat that she liked.We tried several, before we found one that she liked, however, we could still not seem to train her with treats and the clicker.

    We haven’t given up, altogether, but are pretty discouraged, trying to train her. I”m open to any suggestions. God Bless. Bill


  56. Bec says:

    That was a great article!! My favorite of yours so far 🙂


  57. Orphan Annie says:

    I adopted a 5-ish year old wheaten Cairn Terrier from the pound. I am pretty sure she is pure bred but it’s not like I wanted papers or anything. I lost my West Highland Terrier a few months prior and when I thought about getting another Westie my stomach would go sour. I went to a few shelters and saw many dogs but when I saw “Annie” I quickly fell in love. Nobody knew the history on Annie and she was pretty wild. When I brought her home she knew NOTHING of basic commands and when I went to make me some tea I accidenlty dropped the spoon on the kitchen counter which fell onto the tile floor and she ran off as fast as she could. That is the hard part about adopting a dog where you don’t know the history. It has taken about 3 months for her to be “cool” with the fireplace when it pops, dropping loud things, and she knows every basic command and more. She is the smartest abd sweetest dog ever and has filled my heart with joy where my heart was very broken before her. Her days of running wild and crazy are over as she now has structure and I’ve given her guidance and patience. I’d rahter adopt an adult dog that has, usually, past the chewing stage, and give that dog an opportunity it deserved in the first place since people are too stupid to spay or neuter their pets. I work at a vet clinic and hear so many times, “We can’t afford to get him/her fixed” and I wanna say, “then you shouldn’t have got a dog if you can’t afford one”. Ugh…


  58. laurie says:

    We have both rescued and shelter and found on the street pets…the found and rescued ones have better temperments then the purchased ones. I always say it is because they appreciate having a home. If you are on facebook you can find several animal rescue sites on there. I use pet pardons. They help to rescue about a thousand shelter animals a month. There are groups on there to rescue all sorts of animlas, even horses.


  59. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story! We would never consider any option other than to adopt from a shelter. We firmly believe that these are the dogs that show marked intelligence and devotion. Their desire to please and be accepted into a loving home make them the best choice by far. No one could pay us any amount of money to give up our beautiful Gracie. When we rescued her, she told us that she needed lots of love, attention, and exercise. That’s what we’ve given her and our “investment” has definitely paid off. She has long since forgotten the family that abandoned her and is now free to enjoy each day within a loving home. The joy she gives us cannot be measured and to witness her joy every day is a wonderous thing that cannot be described. There is a special bond between guardians and their rescue dogs. They may eventually forget the shelter; but they never forget that you were the one who saved them and gave them quality of life. In return, they give back to you every day at every opportunity. You will never find a more loyal friend, companion, or family member.


  60. Barb Talbot says:

    I adopted a rescue dog to be a companion to Schatzie, our German Short-Haired Pointer, after the passing of my husband. Schatzie was mourning, as the rest of the family. She would sit at my husband’s favorite recliner chair & just place her head in the chair & whine in grief! This sadness of 2 broken hearts needed healing. Then,Rosy became part of our family. This cute mutt put joy back into our home! Rosy is a real delight to be around. That was 4 years ago & both dogs are happy. Especially Rosy, since she has a “forever home” !!!


  61. Sheila Ryan says:

    In June of 2010, I lost my sweet terrier of 16 years. I was so heartbroken that I said I did not want another dog. I had raised her from a seven week old pup and my family knew she was my baby. I have always given to Petsmart Charities and was just looking at the adopted dogs on line. One caught my attention and I applied for adoption. It was the best thing I ever did not just for the dog but for me also. I live in Baltimore and found out the dog was in a high kill area of Tennessee. I adopted her last September and to this day my husband and I can’t understand why someone would get rid of her. She is the sweetest dog. Very laid back and has learned to sit and shake hands. She is fully house broken and a simple joy. I just can’t understand why people get dogs and then don’t want to put the time and effort in them. It’s like having a baby that never grows up. She is completely the opposite of my other dog but as a dog parent, I love them both for their different personalities. It makes me feel so good when I look at her and know I saved her life. PLEASE adopt because there is one for you.


  62. Dave Christiana says:

    When I brought home my 3-year old shelter dog, an Australian Cattledog mix, I wondered what I was getting myself into. I liked what I saw and said “That one!”. Walking to the car I thought, “I can deal with this.” She sat so nicely in the front seat, sniffing the A/C vent when I thought “What can I change her name to.” Her name was known as Ryley. By the time we got home our home she was still Ryley and was MY DOG. We hit it off tremendously. I never had such a wonderful best friend. She has enriched my life 1000-fold. I can go on and on, but the point is, I could have easily missed out on such a wonderful opportunity. Adoption will always be my first option.


  63. Bud Keene says:

    We adopted a 6 yr old female Golden Retriever from a veterinarian who was retiring from a clinic. When Rosie came into our home she was immediately afraid. It was obvious that she had never been inside a house before. She finally calmed down, and then we learned that she had not been housebroken.Housebreaking took just a few days
    She often becomes rattled by a sudden movement of someone and bolts into another room. Also, she will not eat when anyone is walking around the room. But she is a very loving dog, and often comes to be petted.

    We believe her main purpose in life was to deliver puppies, and was probably confined to a small kennel, and may have been mistreated by the veterinary staff.

    We’ve had her spayed and she has full run of our yard which is inclosed by an invisible fence.

    She is a gorgeous deep red Golden Retriever we are very happy to have her, and we know that we rescued her from a life that was not good.


  64. Leora Morgan says:

    Although not from a shelter, my Prissy was abandoned and headed that way before someone asked me if I wanted her. They told me she was part pug. She is actually a full bred Pekingese with the sweetest disposition of any of her breed I have seen. She is now twelve years old with a severe heart condition. I took her to therapy dog training soon after she became my dog, and she was one of the best in the class, despite the trainer’s reluctance to train her. She even won a “friendliest dog” award in a nursing home dog contest. With her life expectancy not much longer, we will adopt another dog, be it Pekingese, or whatever adopts us.


  65. maria says:

    Adopting shelter dogs is second nature in our family since i was little , now we have four rescued /unwanted pooches our 2 pit pulls were adpted/rescued from the shelter as babies , they were part of a group of pups from a fighting ring that was raided , because they were babies (6 wks) we werent afraid of the out come and we have been well rewarded one is fat loving lazy sports lover and the greatest kisser , the other is energetic , sleek loving and funny they both are good babysitters and love theyre siters, next is my chi , who because one of hers eyes slid to the left the buyer was going to take her the shelter to b euthanized she wasnt”show quality” well guess what she wins “mommys baby” award , she has the heart of a lion and at 7 pnds she fits well with the big dogs and they know that she is the baby , and last but not least is our service dog German shepherd, who was bred in a back yard and sold on the street she is my backup and gives unconditional love so would i reccommend shelter dogs u bet with love & patience they can and will make a wonderfull addition to any family


  66. Tassie says:

    Yes!! Adopt a dog!!! We just adopted a dog from a rescue two weeks ago. He is a four year old Shih Poo. We were originally looking for a puppy because we have three kids and I my first priority was to get a dog that would be good with the kids. I am so glad we adopted “Monty” because he is absolutely wonderful with the kids and I trust him 100%. I certainly don’t miss the whole potty training / chewing on everything stage!!! He needed some obedience training and I am sure that is why he was given up but he is learning quickly. I think that is the main reason dogs are given up because their people don’t spend the time to train them properly. It is amazing the return you get from a little bit of extra time that you spend on training. We love Monty and would never consider giving him up. I will NEVER buy from a puppy from a pet store!! Don’t beleive those websites that charge the big bucks for their dogs and tell you that “You get what you pay for”. Unless you are showing dogs it shouldn’t matter what you pay. I could have paid anywhere from $500-$1,000 for the same type of dog that I got for a small fee that went toward the rescue.


  67. Barbara Ames says:

    Our Ping (now 2 years old) came to us from a shelter. I was surprised when considering which of the many “adoptables” would join our family, I had remarked aloud to my husband that we should give more consideration to the older dogs and one of the volunteers informed us that as many pups as other ages were euthanized. Her guess was that adults were trying to avoid the need to train (housebreaking, chewing, etc.) their new additions.
    We were surprised at the vast knowledge the volunteers had on each pet and we also took our time in making our final decision. Ping was born at the shelter and was 8 weeks old when we brought her home, along with 6-month-old, dog-friendly Rusty, the purrfect cat. Sure we hit many of those “what have we done” moments (especially at around 6 months old when, just as we learned from this site, many pups seem to temporarily forget absolutely everything they have learned. But Ping has always patiently waited for us to get back on track and has always richly rewarded us for our good behavior.
    Sure, you don’t necessarily know what kind of personality you may be in for with a rescued dog, but with my friends who are inclined to stick to AKCs, I can’t say that they fare any differently. Bottom line…I think our pets take the biggest risk with us and yet those little darlings who have no choice in the matter love us unconditionally.


  68. Linda says:

    We adopted a Boston Terrier from a shelter. He has been the best, most lovalble dog you could hope for. He has brought much joy and hanppiness to the whole family. He just loves the grandkids. He loves to play and set on my lap to nap. Best thing we ever did.


  69. Linda says:



  70. ZoAnn says:

    We have adopted 2 dogs from the pound and could not have happier !.


  71. Katherine says:

    I’ve got all of my 3 dogs from rescues. I got this perfect American Golden Retriever when he was about 3 years. He’s been such a delight. And then I adopted 2 puppies who I absolutely love also. One is a lab/jack russell terrier mix- she is sooo much fun! She’s very calm considering she’s 1 1/2 years old. I got her when she was 5 weeks old. And she had her last accident in the house when she was 3 1/2 months old. Never had a problem. My other pup, a german shepard/border collie mix is 9 months old now. She’s been a handful since day 2. I got her when she was 5 weeks too from the shelter. She’s ridiculously smart and potty trained WAY fast, like my other pup did, but she’s got serious anxiety issues. BUT she has come a LOOOONG way. And I am very proud of her. I know that if someone else had adopted her, she most likely would’ve been returned to the shelter or rehomed. SHe’s destroyed a lots of things and I’ve spent hundreds of dollars fixing things she’s chewed on, but through lots of patience, training, and exercise (not necessarily in that order) she’s improved significantly and can’t wait for her brain to mature even more. She wasn’t what I was looking for at the time, but I made a commmitment and wasn’t going to change that based on things being destroyed. I have anxiety issues too, and even though I don’t chew on a satellite cord, I have my own outlets too and it’s important that dogs are seen in the right light and cared for properly. I love my girls, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. Zeus (Golden) is testing next month to become a therapy dog. Isis (lab/jrt)is working on getting her CGC then possibly become a therapy dog as well. And Heidi (GSD/BC) may get there some day too, but we’re taking it one day at a time. DOgs are so amazing, especially when rescued. Now I’m not saying my dogs are perfect, but they are pretty darn close, but it’s taken a lot of work on my part to get them where I wanted them to be.


  72. Mary T. Del Buono says:

    I got a Schnauzer puppy about 2 mo. ago…I wanted shelter dog…loved to have a dog who is broken in…not snippy or jumping too much…
    just a dog to be pals with…but my husband had different idea…he got a dog from our neighborhood…next door…the dogs behave badly…I try to train my dog their baby dog….and he goes right back to bad behavior when he sees mom and dad…they can jump on all the furniture…do not use leash…do not make the dogs stop biting, jumping…dad doesn’t bite but mom does…so my dog gets frazzled and frantic when he sees her…jumps nips their masters…frennzy…weird…I try not to take my dog out when they are outside…running everywhich way…and my dog is on a leash…he bites his leash when passing their house and growls…
    Anyone know a way to stop this frennzey of big jumps and nipping…and what not…I know he is a pup but mom is only a year old so still a pup her self…our dog is behaving bad nipping at my toes…I don’t like it…makes me nervous…he must pick up on that…
    Wish I could have gotten a nice calm unrelated dog…to the two wild ones next door…ughhh…I pray on it…that I will get to train this dog…maybe I am wrong…my husband yells at him and he listens…but not to me…oh well..thanks for letting me vent…


    Hansi Reply:

    Hi Mary,

    First of all you need to train your husband! Yelling may seeom to work, but will only make the dog fearful of your husband and in the long run the dog will ignore the yelling. Try and find a puppy class to take your dog. Not only will it teach you to teach the dog with positive reinforcements, not yelling. It will also create a bond between you and the puppy which every pup needs to feel secure in his new family. We adopted a puppy from the shelter and he came with a long rap-sheet as a problem dog. We were his 4th family and he was only 10 months old. Now a year later he is a well behaved, loving dog, the favourite of everyone he meets. It took love, patience and most of all persistence and regularity to get him to where he is today. Do not give up on him and maybe have a talk with your neighbours about going to puppy classes with their dogs.


  73. Clint Stroebel says:

    My last two dogs have been from the humane society. Chloe who we had for 10 years until she died with cancer was the best dog that we have ever owned. She was 35lbs and super skinny when we got her. Our vet told me later that she was not sure if Chloe would make it. She ended up being a 90lb mixed breed with rotweiller marking and a husky tail with a really thick under coat. She was a dog that gave unconditional love and always tried to please. We have had Bandit for the last 5 months. He also has Rottweiler Doberman markings with a much thinner coat then Chloe. He was about 6 month old when we got him. He was afraid of people, would jump up on us, and mouth us which scared my wife and he is not good with cats. He is coming along and has become affectionate and willing to meet new people. the jumping up has stopped and he doesn’t use his mouth very much any more. He didn’t seem to have a understanding of what was right and what was wrong. It really has been amazing to watch his growth into becoming a valuable member to our family. I feel good about getting a shelter dog as I feel I am saving a life.


  74. rcj says:

    I adopted a female German Shepherd from the shelter almost a year ago. Unfortunately, this dog has fear aggression problems toward other dogs in particular. She also is nervous around some people, but has never shown aggression (unless surprised as in the case of the gas meter reader!) Frankly, this dog is a pain. I have owned German Sheps before. Both were wonderful and both were rescues. I guess the third time is not a charm in some cases.


    Carol Reply:

    I am sorry about your German Shepherd’s fear problem. It can be very challenging on an owner. Have you tried finding a trainer who understands her problem and can help resolve her problem?


  75. Cathy says:

    We got Rusty our rescue dog this summer and she is GREAT!
    We knew already that she would be high energy but that she would love to sit quiet with us for the entire football game. With a puppy we would have had to guess what she would be like.
    Thank you to Save-A-Dog in Sudbury Massachusetts USA!


  76. Jeanie says:

    Absolutely, I would adopt a shelter dog, we have two right now. A Maltese or bichon mix she’s was around 4 when we got her. Our second dog is a cockapoo and he’s 3 years old. When we first got him, it was obvious that he was mistreated, and very afraid. During the last year, he has grown into being a great dog, and we wouldn’t trade him or our other dog for the world. You can’t just get a dog and expect it to be a perfect. YOU have to TRAIN it to be that PERFECT dog. All dogs need exercise, some dogs need two to three walks a day, so as you walk your dog, the mind relaxes, and you must stimulate their brains with toys and play. You can’t just bring them in your house, play with them once in a while and plop them in your bed and expect them to be perfect. Training is the key. If you have a problem dog, then 9 times out of 10, YOU are the PROBLEM. Adopt a shelter dog, yes. Buy a dog in a pet store, well, fluffy was most likely a puppy mill dog without proper medical care. Be careful with backyard breeders as well, ask to see the kennels that they keep their dogs in, if they won’t show you the area, and you don’t see a bunch of dogs there, walk away. There are reputable breeders, get references, and talk to the local rescue groups, they know the reputable breeders. Go to the shelter or a rescue group in your area, a lot of the dogs are pure breeds too.


  77. Cheryl Macfarlane Wilson says:

    We have always gotten pure bred dogs from breeders. In june our 11 year old Black Cocker Spaniel passed away. We were both heart broken and frankly I was down on even considering getting another dog. My daughter dragged us down to the Humane Society to just “look” at the dogs for a fun activity. Next thing we knew we were walking out the door with Gus, a Jack Russell Terrier that’s just full of vim and vigor. This is a breed I would never have considered had I known anything about them. A JRT is not for everyone. I must say he has beome the joy of our life and I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the little guy. Would I get another shelter dog? In a New York minute.


  78. Sue says:

    I am a foster home for a Rescue Group. The dogs we get can be from a stray to owner turn ins. Some of the owners that turn in a dog give the most incredible stories, you wonder where they made them up. If they would only be honest, ie:doesn’t get along with young children, or hates the cats, or doesn’t get along with men, any Rescue group could take that information and use it for the benefit of placing the dog with a proper new home. When we don’t get the truth, it is possible the poor dog MAY go home with someone who will have to return him/her back to the Rescue group again. How sad for the dog !!!! There are so many sweet good dogs who get dumped for stupid reasons. Some people just should not have gotten a dog in the first place, as they aren’t responsible enough. Yes, that cute puppy grows up to be an 85 pound dog who a family decides “just too big to fit into our family life any longer” Well, what did they think would happen when they got that 10 pound ball of fur 11 months earlier, and thought “how cute”? When we see one of our dogs be adopted, then come to one of our events or parties with its new family, we get to see the miracles that can happen when he/she is in a home full of love and responsibility for the dog. It is very rewarding when one of our dogs is adopted and becomes a service dog, after the previous owner thought it was “disposable”.
    I applaud everyone who has taken an animal from a Rescue Group or Shelter and provided love and responsibility. So many animals know they have been given “another chance” and are a shining star in a new owners life.


    Pattie Reply:

    My sentiments exactly!


  79. Carol says:

    Almost two years ago I adopt my second shelter dog. He is a chocolate-ish lab mix and he mother along with her puppies was left at the shelter and he was eight weeks old when I adopted him. I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him and has replace the whole left after I lost my first shelter adopted dog (white Shepard mix). My lab mix had round worms so bad he had a cough for several months after and required several extra vet visits. But at two years old he is a therapy dog and we also enjoy agility classes and hopefully we may even try to compete.
    Adopting a shelter dog can be a wonderful experience!


  80. suzanne mccafferty says:

    After keeping our eyes and hearts open for a possible rescue dog, we adopted a shelter dog 8 weeks ago. He had been starved and fly bitten. He is huge, part lab and part some type of hound. Not all shelter dogs spoke to us, but Henry did. We knew we wanted a young dog, but not a puppy as we didn’t have the patience for that. We would not look at dogs younger than 2 years old.

    Henry is the best thing that has ever happened to our family. Although we already have a 16 year old shelter dog we adopted as a puppy, we were open to a new dog.We made a list of what type of dog would fit best with us. We were careful in our choice as we have two little girls and of course the old dog. We made sure our new choice would not be too agressive and would listen to our commands. Henry needed a lot of training so we read up on ways to introduce him to his new surroundings and family, worked diligently on making sure he did not think he was the alpha dog in our home as he was way too big to allow that to happen. We also made sure we could carve out the time it would take to be with him & to enforce his training every day.

    So with making the right choice for you and your families needs, having the time and energy to care and train for your new pet I think it is one of the most wonderful things a person can do for another living thing…and the reward of the amount of love that you receive in return is priceless!


  81. Maggie says:

    I have adopted many a pet from shelters. Starting with my first cat 33 years ago. Since then I have not only adopted animals from shelters I have also taken part in fostering dogs and cats for Humane societies. I have always thought that giving one of these animals a good home would be rewarded 10 fold by the love of the pet, and I have never been disappointed. The last dog I adopted from a shelter was 2 or 3 years old, she was a stray so no one could be sure how old she was. She did have a few problems, she had been abused, she didn’t like men very much (very anxious around them) and she didn’t like Big Boots, I think she might haave been kicked. However, with some patience, lots of love and tender perseverence she developed into a wonderful pet who loved to snuggle. We named her Lucky and she lived out her life with us (13 years). She appeared to be mostly border terrier and was one of the best pets I ever shared time with. There will always be room in my home and life for unwanted animals.


  82. Margie White says:

    I adopted an “aprox 4 yr old” pit bull, allmost 3 yrs ago. She is a sweety!! It was apparent that she had not had much training, but has become a perfect companion dog, even walking on a lose lead. Do wish I had more history on her, she hate to ride in the car. This seems strange to me. We go to a walking trail allmost everyday. I have to really coax her into the car, and again when we go home. Something must be in her past.


  83. Corina says:

    I’m a dog groomer. I see so many dogs a week.Most of the dogs with problem are pure brred dogs. Never, till now I had a problem with dogs coming from shelter.


  84. ed says:

    havethe exact same problem with our lab/collie mix – are you certain he will beless aggressive and calmdownin3 years?


  85. Pattie says:

    We don’t have a dog at present but if we did get one (I’m working on my husband) I would only ever adopt. I volunteer at our local humane society and it grieves me that so many wonderful, loving dogs are abandoned or turned in by their “family”. For the most part these dogs respond positively to basic training and love shown to them by the staff and volunteers. The key to getting the “right dog” is to be realistic about your living situation and how much time and effort you have available and are willing to put in to training and socializing. All the shelter/rescue dogs I have come into contact with just crave for us to love them and show them how to be the best dogs they can be. I know there are exceptions but I think the actual number is very small.


  86. Judith says:

    I bought miniature male poodles for many years, loved them all, they trained easily and were the love of my life (well, after my husband, of course). In ’92 I acquired a husky/elk hound mix, 3 months old, from someone who found him alone and starving. He lived to be almost 17 and was the most loving, wonderful dog I could ever have wanted. My old country vet told me when I first brought in this dog for evaluation that the mixed breeds are the best dogs out there! I almost agree, but this dog was very special. After my last min. poodle died at age 14, I wanted to buy another but after volunteering at the shelters for a few years, I realized that I needed to find my next best friend at a shelter. Enter Joe Dog, a terrier mix, kind of a “Benji” scruffy type. He was at a shelter, only 9 months old, and scared of everything. The shelter staff told me “He just needs lots of love.” I knew I could give him that. He is now 2 years old and my best buddy. It has been a challenge training him after the poodles, but he is smart and willing and eager to please. I took him to dog obedience and he did very well. If I get another dog, I will definitely go to the shelters. I am 70 and of course the next dog will be an older dog for obvious reasons! There is no guarantee with the shelter dogs, nor with the purebreds, so I say give the shelter dogs another chance!


    Karen Joyal Reply:

    I have two shelter dogs, they are very lovable and they do not want to be abandoned again, I see this when I take them for a walk if I tell them lets go and they don’t listen, I just get into my truck and they come running and get into the truck. There are so many dogs that need good homes, I don’t know why anyone would go out and buy a dog for $400. I wish I could take in all the strays I see, but of course I can’t. To all the people out there please adopt don’t buy.


  87. Dale says:

    I an on my third chowchow from a rescue. The first was 8 months old verry shy. It took me 2 years to get her to walk out of the yard once she finally learned that exploring is fun we were all over town. When she passed I got a 2yr old girl not a problem she even liked the mailmen and police. After her I got a boy 1yr old loves to play, go for walks very good in the house He is a bit afraid of other dogs but not aggressive. I am only having problems with him pulling on the lead too hard but he is learning. My next one will be from a rescue. Most rescue places screen applicants to make sure the dogs are going to a good home and not to be used for some unheard of reason. A lot of shelters just let someone pay a fee and let their dogs go to anyone.


  88. JimK says:

    I did not want the responsibility of taking care of any more dogs after having two loving Golden Retrievers and having to put them down when it came time. We loved them like our children so it was difficult at the end both times. I only purchased your program because my daughter and her fiancee adopted a 2 1/2 year old rescue greyhound. I did not know they were planning on leaving it with me while they are at work. I was not too happy about it. For 3-4 months I did not go out very often during the daytime because I had to watch the dog because I could not trust her to not tear up my place, and she would not go into her cage readily. She had sleep aggression, separation anxiety, and tear up things. I was hoping to work with the dog to at least get over those bad behaviors, because I am not comfortable when my small grandsons are around at the same time. The bad behavior is not as bad but she has growled at me and my grandson for no obvious reason other than being near her, but not touching or threatening her. I have not read all of the above entrees yet, but I hope to get some useful info from the other owner’s comments.


  89. Sam Budge says:

    We have two rescue dogs. Eddie is a poodle/York mix. We met at a local Shelter when Eddie was supposedly 9 months old. That was in early 2005. We adore him. Hairy is our latest rescue and he’s a Maltese and is 4 years old. He is a lover, but he’s driving us crazy. We were told that he was house trained. Apparently, not. We adore him, but he relieves himself anywhwere in our home. He goes in/out of the doggie door whenever he hears something outside. I try to take him for Potty Walks about every 1 1/2 hours. We were introduced to Belly Bands. We crate him every evening. I keep the patio/yard clean of any urine, etc. We only feed the dogs morning and evening at specific times. Our other dogs never relieved themselves in our home. When our older dog, who was about 15 years old, was put down, we waited a few months and then found Hairy to be a companion to Eddie. Well, they will run out and chase (along the fence) anyone walking behind our house. They eat together (separate bowls) and drink together, but every now and again Eddie (the older one) will flare and there is a fight. Hairy holds his own, but I intervene immediately as their Alpha dog. In the past three months, I have only caught Hairy in the act once. My husband and I love them both. Little Hairy is such a cuddly and sweet dog. We will not give him up. We just do not know what else to do. When we do the Potty Walk, I praise and reward him when he goes outside. I try to take him out regularly. I know his ‘tell’ for poop, but he does not seem to give off any hint of him getting ready to urinate. I am at my wits end with Hairy. Someone PLEASE HELP ME WITH TRAINING HIM!!!???


  90. I’m from Canada and tried to adopt a dog from the Humane Society. I had one picked out , his name was Lance and I was sooo excited! I filled out the application, and was denied because I did not have a “fenced yard”. I am single and own my own home but was told no dogs are allowed to be adopted out to a home unless they have a fenced yard. That means anyone in an apartment, townhouse or ANY home without a fence is turned down. Any Humane society’s in canada should lower their restrictions! I was soooo disappointed. Does anyone know who I can complain to to try and have these crazy rules changed ?


  91. Rebecca H says:

    We adopted a mixed breed large dog that had been a shelter dog… he was 7 months old. His previous owners put him up for adoption because he had never been trained and they didn’t want to bother. He wasn’t even housebroken yet. He was also very fearful… was nervous about being petted… specially around his head. It took me a week to housebreak him… just rolled up all the rugs and was consistent with him. His fear took a bit longer and he is still fearful of some things. He loves to be petted and can be a pest about it if allowed. We have a frequent visitor and if he can’t get her attention… he’ll untie her shoe laces to get it. He’s been such a blessing in our lives. I’d definitely get another shelter dog.


  92. JUDY MEACHAM says:

    I adopted a 4 month old puppy from Ranch Coastal Humane Society back in March of 20011.

    She is the most loving, caring dog I have every owned, and personality plus, plus. I would do it again.

    I was told that they found her on the streets in National City, Ca, flea and tick infected. To see her today you would think that she had come from a very loving home.
    If you are thinking of getting a dog, do yourself a favor and check out you local Human Societies. Have patience, you might not find one on your first visit, it might take several tries.


  93. Carol Lee says:

    I adopted a puppy that was 8 weeks old about 3 months ago. Manny was a kill shelter and he had 3 sibling pups. He was the last one to be adopted, and I fell in love with him. I had a problem getting him, but we got it worked out, and all was ok. I got him home we found out he had mange from his mom. He has cost a little extra money but you can’t get that kind of unconditional love when you walk in the door, feed him, or just love him. That is the best gift God could give me besides my life and boyfriend. I had a double-bypass, and to be loved and cared for by some one that really cares matters.


  94. mary says:

    i think dogs do make a good family pet when they come from the shelter or if it comes from a dog owner you could have the same problems i got a 8 thm old rott from their and it was her last day im glad i got her aperantly she had problem they did not know about she was scare of noise and brooms and vacum clearner but i was not gpoing to take her back nither so i work with her and now she play with the broom and not a friead of the vacoum and she a smirt dog she can open the doors and clase them and she know hands sinand that took only one week to learn so their is good out of it people just need to look good for one and work with the dog and love them back both the dog are a shealter one and i would not change them for the world


  95. Janel Killian says:

    We have a 6 month old puppy who loves to dig up and chew on the irrigation lines on our yard. Do you have anny suggestions to get her to stop?


    Dolores Reply:

    Take her out walking at least once a day! Absolutely essential.
    And take her to training.

    Is she part Border Collie? They are great for chewing up irrigation systems. They need lots of exercise. Also like playing ball.

    Take her out hiking with you.

    Give her bones to chew on – proper big bones that have not been cooked. Cooked bones splinter. No small chicken bones as they will cause her to choke.

    If you don’t like bones, then get her some ‘chewies’. Buy them at your local vet shop.


  96. Jo Mercer says:

    We did not adopy my dog from a shelter, but from a rescue organization. A puppy mill had been broken up and she was sent this this rescus house. She is 4 years old and all she has known has been living in a cage and producing puppies. She has adapted to us very well however; I have two issues and if anyone is familiar with them, or has had a similar experience, would you please share with me what I can expect down the road, or what can we do to correct these issues:
    1. She refuses to go to the bathroom outside, regardless of how much time we are outside with her and, instead, uses wee wee pads we have placed in our mud room, and
    2. We have caught her eating her feces on several occasions. We were not aware of this, but were told later by someone that this happens with dogs in puppy mills because they are not given enough food to eat. We have her on a very balanced diet.
    Regardless of the outcome, we will keep her.


  97. Dawn says:

    Last Dec I adopted the “Shelter Pet of the Week”, an adorable scruffy mixed breed dog with baby blue eyes. Not much history was given, but I was drawn to this cute dog even though I owned the best dog on the planet (a 6 yr old Golden Retriever). This young dog, which we have figured out to be a Bearded Collie and Austrian Shepherd mix, has had some bad days (he is a chewer) but with a loving, dedicated family, he is really becoming a great member of our family. My husband, who was deployed to Afghanistan last Dec has really taken to our new addition. He obviously needed structure and love, and people who want him , who care for him, and who are willing to work with him and overlook those naughty days. He is a wonderful joy in our lives, and even our Golden Retriever has taken him in as a little brother. They romp and wrestle and run together every day, and our Golden is now so slim and fit he looks like a 2 year old! What a good day it was when we added our Jester to our family. Dawn


  98. Bill Patrick says:

    Over the years my family has adopted dozens of shelter dogs. We currently have one that has been with us nine years and lost a dear friend this past Tuesday, she had been my girl for over eight years. She was a brood bitch from a “puppy mill,” her feet never touched grass until I got her at 5 years old. She had been dropped off at my Vets office to be put down because she was no longer making money for the owner; she only had one puppy the last time she was bred. I didn’t want her at first but my wife talked me into taking her. Katy turned out to be the most loving, faithful and pleasant companion I ever had, she will be sorely missed. At my age I don’t think I will take on the responsibility of another animal but if I do the shelter will be the first place I look.


  99. Coralie says:

    I agree!
    A rescue dog is a wonderful loving companion.

    I now have number 10, our Astro,he is so special,He survived street life,staving,freezing,wet and cold, hit by a truck and chased by “dog hunters” who round up and gas dogs living on the streets in Romania, but he made it to the pound.

    A pretty fantastic background, but he is so loving and obedient! He wants to learn everything and is so inquisitive and playful. That is the kind of trust a shelter dog can give you for being saved!

    I honor all the shelter dogs that have shared our home, now they have passed over the Rainbow Bridge one at a time after spending wonderful years with us.

    If there is one thing I am proud of doing in my life it is saving rescue dogs, they teach me what life is about and give more than I can ever give them.

    Yes, most of them needed a lot of help to become who they really are, but with love and patience you will never have a better companion than the one you save from a shelter.


  100. Linda says:

    I have adopted a wonderful little puppy of 4 months of age. Hershey is a great rat terrior puppy with alot of love to give. I would encorage who ever is looking for a pet to go to an animal shelter and adopt one of these wonderful animals and give them a home.


  101. Dru Timmerman says:

    We have never owned a dog nor did we even want one. However, a year and a half ago, my husband was driving by the animal shelter and decided to drop in. Every cage in the shelter had at least 1 or 2 dogs. One got his attention immediately! The two of them caught sight of each other across the kennel area and it was love at first sight. Picture this: my big burly 250 lb husband and this precious little 15 lb Yorkie/mix making a love connection.

    My husband came home and told me to come and see this forlorn, flea infested creature that had been hit by a car and abandoned. I cautiously went to meet the little guy and I too experienced love at first sight.

    The dog doc fixed him up (shots & neuter)and today, we have so much fun with Scooter and he is the joy of our lives!



  102. Rebecca says:

    I currently have 3 loving dogs, all found by family members or rescued from shelters. I have very close friends who are resonsible breeders of dogs, however I’m inflicted to seek out homeless dogs because all of them deserve loving homes. One thing I can say to all people considering a shelter pet, these animals have already been “discarded”, that’s why they are in a shelter. If you are considering pet adoption, take it seriously. This pet should be considered as part of your family NO MATTER WHAT.
    If you currently reside in a rental and are not allowed to have pets, then don’t get a pet. If you cannot afford vet bills (approximately $1200-2000) per pet per year, then don’t get a pet!!
    If you travel for work and cannot afford boarding your pet, or hiring a pet sitter, THEN DON”T GET A PET!!!!!
    Pet adoption should be considered a life decision, they will depend on you for everything until they die, so please, please, please take this seriously. I promise it will be worth the wait and effort. Having a dog in your house will change your life, they are the BEST!!!


  103. Marilyn says:

    Thank you so much for this article.

    I have a Yorkie who is a rescue dog from a puppy mill. She is 7 years old(approx) and I am guessing she was kept there for breeding purposes. We have had her for 5 months. When we got her she was just not interested in food or play or her surroundings. Now she is a happy little dog, interested in her surroundings and she is getting better every day.
    We love her very much!!!
    I am so glad we chose her or she chose us … whatever


  104. Candace says:

    I actually work in dog enrichment at our local SPCA, so I am an avid fan of shelter dogs. Before we allow them up for adoption, they have to meet stringent safety guidelines (especially any pit bull mix). The last thing we need is bad press. This is not to say you will get a perfect dog. Shelter living does not show the dog at their best, but we do try to narrow down where he may need a little extra TLC, training, or patience (especially with our puppy mill rescues). I originally purchased Chet’s training course because he believes in positive reinforcement, and I was hoping to find some quick fixes as we hope to get these dogs adopted quickly. He came through with flying colors. I am now trying to write up the top 10 reasons patrons should adopt an older dog. Unfortunatly, sometimes we get 9 or 10 yr. old dogs whose owners have died, and although they are super dogs, no one wants a dog that they think is going to die soon. If you have any ideas on this, please share them with me.


    Minette Reply:

    We use to have a seniors for seniors program where senior citizens could adopt senior dogs or cats free of charge. It helps the seniors (both) live longer and be happier and it will reduce your euthanasia rate! The most important thing is to really advertise it well and get the word out!

    The other thing is to make their adoptions much cheaper so that it becomes a possibility for people and also advertise and get those seniors on the news and everywhere so people will start adopting.

    We also let some of the seniors wander the front of the shelter and greet guests, this usually helps them get adopted!


  105. Nancy says:

    The first shelter dog I adopted was a terrier mix and she did have major issues. She had been kept in a kennel 12 hours a day, severely abused by teenagers went into heat and got attacked by two large dogs who were fighting over her and then her owners dumped her at the pound instead of bringing her to the vet for treatment. She had severe fear aggression and did not trust people or other dogs. But for some reason she trusted both me and my year old male terrier mix when we went to visit the shelter. I think she choose us. She liked my male pup immediately with his passive, respectful and gentle demeanor that she did not find threatening. He allowed her to be dominant and they played endlessly.

    She was a wonderful loyal and lovable dog with my boyfriend and I. After she bite two of my friends we learned to put a muzzle on her for the first 15 minutes when guests arrived. Once she realized she was safe the muzzle could be removed and she was in your face lovable. Many people would have returned the dog once it showed bite aggression. We were committed to work with her and she came a long way over time. She was always difficult in public so not the most portable dog. I was constantly challenging her with walks and she had safety in routine. Sadly we lost her this past summer. I was glad to give her 6 happy years in my home. Even though I had an experience adopting a dog with issues I did not regret it.

    I have recently adopted a wonderful schnauzer poodle mix who is an absolute joy with no behavior problems at all. I think I was a little more cautious with my choice and looked around a while before I adopted but I am happy to give another pup a good home.


  106. Carmen says:

    I adopted a puppy from the Collin County Humane Society in Texas last year and I am sorry to say that the entire experience was a nightmare! They brought out the cutest and sweetest 8 – 10 week old female puppy (no one could say the exact age) on Christmas Eve. She was not spayed at the time. I called my vet of 10 years (I have 2 other dogs and a horse) and they took care of her shots and we would get her spayed at 6 months. The vet called the humane society and they completely freaked out and demanded that the dog be spayed NOW – at 8 weeks. They threated to sue me, left horrible voicemails, threatened to have the constable come out and pick up the dog and this was all the day after Christmas with a house full of family. I still have the voicemails and emails they sent! Ended up that I paid to have my vet spay her, against their recommendations, at 8 weeks. Cost me a fortune but I love this puppy so much! Unfortunately, I will never consider adopting from a humane society again. Sorry!


    Rhonda Reply:

    That’s a real shame. Our local humane society has vets on staff so the animals are spayed or neutered there. In the case of a puppy, they can send it out for adoption at 2 months with a condition in contract that the puppy be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age (so 4 months later). You have the option of taking the puppy back to the humane society to have it spayed or neutered (free, for pets you adopt there) or if you prefer you can take the puppy to your own vet; but of course you would have to pay your vet for that service. The contract stipulates that you must either have the puppy spayed or neutered at the age of 6 months, or provide proof that an appointment has been booked in the near future for the procedure. Our humane society now has the following included in the adoption fee: spay or neuter, tattoo, micro chip id, and one month free pet insurance. You really couldn’t ask for a better experience. I’m so sorry that you had a bad experience; however, I think it bears mentioning that one should always ask to review the contract details and the policies of the humane society prior to going to choose a new pet. It is important to mention here that, while all humane societies typically have a similar mandate, not all shelters are created equally. While you may have had a bad experience with that particular humane society, there are others that would definitely offer a positive experience. Please don’t lose faith based on one bad experience. In the end, remember that you are blessed, as you have a wonderful companion. Bless you and your puppy!


    Carmen Reply:

    Hi Rhonda,

    You are so right that I have a wonderful companion and I would not trade her for the world! Ultimately, it was my fault for not checking them – and their contract out. I even considered hiring a lawyer to fight her getting fixed so young but I figured when Ellen Degeneres can’t win what chance do I have. I am so happy to know that your HS does not fix them so young and allows adopters to have them done by 6 months. Everytime I think about picking that sweet puppy up from the vet when she was fixed I want to cry and pray that she will not have any health issues later on as a result.

    PS – I would never get a dog from a breeder or a pet store!


  107. Patsy says:

    I have had 2 shelter dogs over the years and they were wonderful friends. I would never hesitate to look for a companion dog at a shelter. I wish more people would do so.


  108. Laurie says:

    I have a dog from a shelter, but I did adopt him at 2 1/2 months old. I hadn’t had a dog for a very long time, and wanted to start with a young pup, so I could grow with my dog. Now that he has reached just a little over a year I am starting to look for another dog to adopt between 2 and 4 years old. I feel I have done a lot of homework and so enjoy my Bohdi that I’m ready for more. I also have two cats (one of which is a rescue) and I would not give up any of my pets (2 rats as well). You’re right about not knowing what you will get with a pup. We wanted a dog around the size of a cocker spaniel, with short hair, and low energy. We got, a 50+ lb dog, that has long hair, and medium energy, but he is an absolute joy. He had some issues develop about 4-6 months old, but they have all been worked out, with lots of reading, lots of patience, and staying calm. I can’t wait til we find our second dog, I wish I could take them all!


  109. John Cragg says:

    We adopted a shelter dog three months ago. He was found wandering in fields near here with no identification at all. He was almost totally untrained and yes he had some behavior issues. Three months have seen a complete transformation. He is now a much easier dog to live with — he always was long on personality — and is also a great companion. In total he has been a lot easier to bring to being a total asset to the family that our previous dogs which we got as puppies.


  110. Michelle says:

    I could never ever work in a shelter. 1> I’d cry every day. 2> If a dog wasn’t adopted before they were scheduled to be euthanize, I’d take it home. 3> I’d cry every day. 4> I’d get no work done because I’d be sitting with the dogs/cats/critters all day long giving them love. 5> Did I mention that I’d cry every day.
    When we moved to the area where we are at, one of the requirements was that I own the house. I didn’t want a landlord telling me what I could or could not have in my house. Well, we do. And we have a shelter here too. I am currently the proud human of five shelter cats and two shelter dogs. Talk about a sucker! That’s not to say I didn’t have troubles with any of them, oh no, they all have their very own personality. The lab/shepherd mix was and is an interesting character. I got him when he was a few months old (after my 17 year old chow chow had to be put down) – his siblings were all gone, he was the ‘black’ one and they couldn’t find him a home and wanted to get him out of the ‘institution’. Well, I think black is just a great color. I brought him home … trained him up. He’s a bit spoiled. He was only ‘supposed’ to get about 40 lbs (not sure who decided that one) but he is 80 lbs now 1 1/2 years later. Discovered also that because I was the only one really training him up, he got a bit protective of me. We are working on that now. Ahh and a Drama Queen! I am told it is the shepherd in him, but it makes me laugh soo much that training him is that much harder – hard to tell a dog to sit and stay when he gets all dramatic on ya and you just laugh at him.
    The other fellow is a brindle pit bull/hound mix. He was taken to the shelter at 9 weeks because the persons who bought him couldn’t afford him. (ummm….helloooo they don’t work – someone has to feed them.) His sister was there too and it was a struggle to leave her there. But I knew I could not give enough for all of them….I figured if she was still there in a month, I’d see how things were and consider her. (She was adopted a week later :)) I wanted an older dog but my lab would rather attack an older dog (took him in to see who would be good for him). He ignored the puppies and wanted to take on the older ones. I opted for the puppy since he really didn’t think much of them.
    When I brought the puppy home, I was worried because the lab (80 lbs mind you) was scared to death of this little puppy that wanted to give kisses to him. (The puppy comes in the house, checking things out, sees the lab in the front room and runs to him – lab is startled and jumps up on the back of the couch. Tellin’ ya drama queen.) It took a good week before the lab realized that he had a new play mate. They are inseparable now. My lab now has someone else to direct attention to. His socialization with other dogs has really turned around and he is not as protective of me as he was before. (This is a good thing.)
    I would only ever get animals (young or old, cat or dog) from a shelter, only because they have no one else and they need someone, because their someone made a mistake.
    The stories on here where people have had a bad experience with shelter dogs — well, ya, you will whether you get a pup or an older dog. They all have their own idiosynchrosis (sp) and you never really know what you are going to get. Prior to getting the lab as a pup, I got a 2 yr old lab – the shelter said he was house trained and did well with children. (If you turn in a dog to a shelter, do NOT lie about them!!). The boy was not house trained (which I could have dealt with in a few days) but the downfall was that was not trained at all. Combine big playful jaws with iddy bitty children arms and it’s a bad combination. At the shelter with the kids he was great. But when he came home and after two days he was playing and would grab the kids arms if they had the toy. The dog was a good dog, BUT I made the mistake of bringing in an untrained playful large dog with small children. I knew my limitation and took him back, but I paid for training for him and I paid the adoption fee for the next person to get him only after he was fully trained. (Ya, that was my guilt trip there.) My suggestion: work with a shelter that has a free time period of at least a week. This allows you to bring in the dog to your family and within a few days you are going to know if things are good or not. A shelter like this is its weight in gold. They want the dog to go to a good home, but not every dog is meant to be with every type of person. This free time period allows both dog and family time to make sure they can adjust to each other.


  111. It has small chest that is ideal when entering
    and in burrows. When your Jack Russell has scored enough points with on-lead agility, they will be willing
    to begin off-leash competitions. Consistency is everything in terms of puppy training.


  112. Lw says:

    Im losing my boxer of 9 years on Ties. She was for my daughter when we got her but I shortly after a year of owning her became ill and disabled with spinal issues. She trained herself to become a therapy and almost service type dog. After 5 years of surgeries on and off she stayed by me day and night. If I had anxiety attack she would lay down across my chest. If I fell she would lay at my feet and go to door to bark and scratch if she heard my neighbors almost as if to notify and come lay rt next to me in between. With a deeply broken heart and constant tears alone so I could be strong around her to not alert/alarm her. I went to shelter yesterday. A litter from N.C. came up and was getting put up for adoption the young counselor could see my pain and asked what was I looking for i told him I called on a young lab mix girl named mocha he said I didn’t know or was informed you called someone is already looking at her but I have sibling boy very plain black not marked like her but calm and little shy from being raised under a barn in N.C. would you wanna look. I told him Im not specific or set on anyone I will just know the right one. He soon brought this clumsy boy in to room w me. He sniffed my other half and then sniffed me. Almost immediately he licked my face w 1 paw lightly on my cheek took his toy and curled on my lap quietly. I knew rt then and there we would be a great pair. I know he will come into his own but even in 24 hours he still comes upon calling his name Chance and hes learning he can be the young baby and play but still lo yes snuggle time. And if I go to bathroom hes rt at door whimpering till I open it. His eyes watch wherever I am and then comes to be somewhere in same room as me. Shelter dogas I think are better at loving and loyalty just BC they’re greatful to have someone love them and take them outta those cold cages. Plus I want all this backyard puppymill breeding to stop. Not that there isn’t good hearted breeders but OT look at them as money not living beings.


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