How Can I Adopt a Dog For Free?

There are a couple of options to take if you want to find out about adopting a dog for free. Firstly, you could check your local classified ads for people advertising a pet as ‘free to a good home.’ Or you could take advantage of the ‘waive adoption fees’ offer most shelters make throughout the year.

The fees for adopting an animal from a shelter are usually not very expensive. These fees go towards covering the cost of caring for the animal while in their care. If you decide to adopt from a fee-waived event, donating to the shelter would be much appreciated.

How Do I Find a Dog to Adopt?

Looking online can be a place to start. There are several dog adoption websites that you can search when looking for a potential new pet for your home.  

Visiting your local shelter would allow you to find a pet in person that feels right for you. It can take a little time to get to know the temperament of an animal. So visiting the shelter and spending some time there can help you make the best match before adoption.

Can you Adopt a Pet at 18?

Each pet adoption agency has its own rules. But generally, you have to be at least 18 years old before you can adopt a pet.

Is it Easy to Adopt a Dog?

Adopting a dog can be a relatively straightforward process. The actual process, however, can differ between agencies. Some agencies will let you take home your choice of dog the same day without any prior screening. Other agencies will undergo a more thorough screening process before you can take your new pet home.

What Should I Look For When Adopting a Dog?

For your shelter adoption to be as successful as possible, here are some tips to keep in mind:

“It’s difficult to get a sense of a dog’s temperament in five minutes,” says Mark Hanks, DVM of Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic in Orrington, Me. He advises spending as much time with adoption candidates as the shelter will allow. “If a dog is standoffish or snappy, it might not have been socialized,” says Dr. Hanks, who adds that most dogs get used to being around humans in the first 20 weeks of life. After that, socialization is much more difficult. Obtain as much information from the shelter as possible concerning the dog’s previous owners. Doing this will help to find out if there is a history of behavior problems before adopting.

“I remember thinking I’d like to take this dog home,” says Carole Lucia, of Fallbrook, Calif., talking about a part Border Collie named Riley that she discovered at a shelter operated by a rescue group. “He was chewing on a rawhide toy, and I gently pulled it away from him to see how he’d react. He just looked at me and wasn’t aggressive at all.” This lack of response was important to Lucia and her husband because they had one child and planned to have more. Riley turned out to be a child-friendly but high-energy dog that needed some training. He is now a beloved member of their family. Lucia, who has successfully adopted many shelter pets, says it’s a good idea to ask shelter workers or volunteers about the temperament of any dog you’re interested in adopting.

Who Should Go To the Shelter When Adopting a Dog?

If possible, bring every member of your family to meet the shelter dog you want to adopt. Doing so allows you to see how the dog reacts with everyone. Lucia even brought her other dog to meet Riley to see if the two dogs would get along. They did. Keep in mind that a formerly mistreated dog may react with aggression or fear upon meeting people who somehow remind the dog of its previous abusers.

Understand the Commitment Involved in Adopting a Dog

“More and more shelters are filled with animals because people want to help, but they underestimate their ability financially and time-wise to take care of a pet,” says Dr. Hanks. Don’t adopt a dog on a whim or impulse. If you’re interested in a young dog, remember that this could be a 15-year commitment. For younger dogs, time spent on training is a must.

Another way to make sure all goes well is to look for a breed that fits your lifestyle. If you have children, for instance, look for a dog with a calm, unflappable nature. “Most shelter dogs are mixed breeds,” says Dr. Hanks, “but you can usually see a dominant breed in the mix.” If you live in a small apartment, don’t get a high-energy dog that will bounce off the walls.

Check for Health Problems When Adopting a Dog

Many shelters will spay or neuter dogs before they’re adopted and will check for any health problems. However, as the new owner, it’s wise to take your dog to a veterinarian for a complete checkup soon after adoption. “Some shelter dogs can get kennel cough, which is a virus passed from dog to dog,” says Kelly Dilday, a technician at the Animal Medical Clinic in Portland, Ore. “They might also have some abdominal parasites.”

Many shelters work with local veterinarians. Doing so can benefit you because first visits of recently-adopted shelter dogs may be free or low-cost, Dilday says. Ask your shelter to see if it has such an arrangement. If it does, take advantage of these visits to become familiar with veterinarians in your area and find one you like.

Make Your Newly Adopted Dog Comfortable

When you bring your dog to your home, establish a routine of mealtimes and regular walks. When walking, be sensitive to your adopted dog’s pace. “It’s best to go slow,” says Dilday. “Always keep your new dog on a leash for walks and don’t force introductions with other dogs right away,” “Don’t go to dog parks until you get a better sense of your adopted dog’s personality.”

At home, use a crate for your dog, no matter how old the dog may be. “The crate should be big enough so that the dog can sit, lay down and turn around in it. Put down bedding in the crate, along with food and water,” says Dilday. The idea is to give your new dog a cozy place to feel safe and comfortable, especially if you have to leave the house to do an errand.

Personal Experience of Adopting a Dog

Within a year of his wife’s death, William Goryl decided to adopt a dog from his nearby shelter in Hilton Head, S.C. “I was a little worried because I hadn’t had a dog in 15 years,” says Goryl, a retired business executive. He was also afraid that every dog at the shelter would tug at his heartstrings. However, with guidance from the staff, he made the rounds of available dogs until he came upon a reddish short-haired dog of Basenji mix, which had been found walking along a nearby road six months earlier.

“Rusty’s face grabbed me,” says Goryl, who was able to walk the year-and-a-half-old dog for a few minutes. The shelter workers encouraged him to take Rusty home for a weekend. Over that fateful weekend, Goryl discovered the dog’s charming, even-tempered personality. “The more I looked at him, the more I thought I was fortunate,” says Goryl. “He just seemed as friendly as could be.”

Goryl adopted Rusty, and the two have been happy companions ever since.

Where is the Best Place to Adopt a Dog?

If you adopt a dog at a local shelter, you can select a good fit for you and your family. Your local shelter may have an online database such as the ASPC, where you can search through the available animals they have before adopting them.

How Long Does the Dog Adoption Process Take?

The length of time the pet adoption process takes can depend on what agency you choose to use. Some agencies are quicker than others, only taking a few minutes to finalize your adoption, while others can take days or weeks. Some agencies can have a lengthy adoption process to ensure that you are the right fit for a dog. Things like if your yard is fenced and you spend long periods out of the home can be considered when looking at an application.

Check with the agency you are using, and they should be able to advise you on their specific process.

Why Are Adoption Fees So High For Dogs?

The adoption fee you pay when you are adopting a dog is designed to help cover the cost of feeding and caring for the animal while living in the shelter or rescue. Some amount of the fee goes towards the care of other animals who may have medical bills and a donation to help the organization.  These donations are vitally crucial to shelter and 

rescue agencies to continue to rescue and rehome pets over the country.

Adopting a dog is still cheaper than buying one from a breeder.

Adopting a dog from a shelter can be hugely rewarding, resulting in a lasting relationship, as it has with Riley and Rusty and their owners. You’ll give yourself the best chance of a happy match by avoiding an impulse adoption and taking the time to get to know your potential pet. With a willingness to be a patient, responsible owner, you and your dog will enjoy each other’s company for many years.

Article written by Author: Elizabeth Parker and The Dog Daily Expert

What Should I Look For When Adopting a Dog Adoption thedogdaily

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