If you wish to adopt a shelter dog, research shelters in your area. We chose to adopt because we knew that many animals need a home or face euthanization. Because Sam was older, all black, and a mixed breed, he was at a severe disadvantage in being adopted. This is commonly called “Black Dog Syndrome”.
Most shelters are very clean and organized with healthy pets who have been vaccinated, spay or neutered, and ready to be adopted. The employees and volunteers can be very helpful in making sure you choose a dog that suits your lifestyle and your family setting. You should request the shelter to assist with a compatibility test to analyze interaction with you, your family members and any pets already in your home.
Once home with your new dog, take your time together slowly. There is a period of adjustment for you and the dog once you get home .Occasionally the dog does not take to the new arrangement and usually can be returned to the shelter.
Be prepared to sign paperwork at the shelter, including a declaration that you will properly care for it. Prices to adopt vary from around $75 to $250.
If you are interested in rescuing a dog that has been mistreated or is a highly specialized breed, this is another matter entirely. These dogs tend to be harder to manage and are protected by groups of people who are keen on a specific breed. It can be a lengthy process and not one to be taken lightly. The foster families and volunteers are very rigorous about their application processes and procedures to approve an outright adoption.
Unless you are determined to rescue a very particular breed of dog in a known category of abuse or mistreatment (Greyhound, Pit Bull, etc.) we do not recommend this for your first time adoption. Carefully research these groups by the breed. Give ample time to meet the volunteers and the dogs, taking into consideration the level of abuse the dog has previously endured. Expect ongoing involvement from the rescue group.