Dog Adoption Washington DC
Questions to Ask When Looking for a Dog to Adopt or Rescue
The decision to adopt a pet dog should not be taken lightly. A dog will affect your life in a multitude of ways, and will become a long-term commitment, as dogs live between seven and 15 years - possibly longer. Instead of rushing into it, it's wise to go through the following checklist of questions to ask yourself before adopting a dog.
Is Your Lifestyle Suitable To A Dog?
A dog requires your attention every day. It will need exercise, grooming, healthy food and fresh water. Dogs are social creatures, so your new pet will also need your companionship. If you're currently a student or in the military, or if your job requires a great deal of travel, this might not be the right time to adopt or rescue a dog.
Your living situation also matters. Can your house or apartment accommodate a dog? Is there a fenced yard or a park nearby where the dog can exercise? Do you have children or other pets that will have to adjust to your new dog? Also consider your willingness to deal with inconveniences like flea outbreaks and added wear on furniture or carpeting.
Adopting a dog also involves a financial commitment. Puppy adoption in particular can be costly; within the first year you'll have to budget for spaying/neutering and the necessary vaccinations. Carefully consider the costs of food, veterinary care, pet toys and beds, grooming and even boarding at a kennel if you go on vacation every year.
Should You Adopt A Puppy Or Adult Dog?
This is a huge decision. Older dogs may seem to be less adorable, but are likely to be house-trained and socialized by the time they come to you. Puppy adoption, on the other hand, comes with some stress. A puppy has to empty its bladder every two to four hours, and there will be accidents before it's trained. Housebreaking a puppy requires someone to be home for much of the day, and to get up several times during the night.
Puppies can also be destructive, chewing on shoes, furniture and anything else they get their paws on.
Also consider whether you have the skills, time and patience for obedience training. An untrained puppy can become rough, disobedient or poorly socialized. If you don't have the means to train a puppy, an older dog may be a better option.
Which Breed Is Right For You?
There are hundreds of breeds of dogs, many of them bred for specific behaviors or physical characteristics. If you want a purebred dog, be sure you choose a breed that's well suited to your lifestyle, taking the following into consideration:
Size: The amount of space you have is only one factor in choosing a large breed or a small one. Small dogs live longer, cost less to feed, and may require less exercise. Larger dogs can dissuade potential intruders to your home or accompany you on jogs. Ask yourself what role in your life you want your pet to play.
Temperament: Each breed not only has specific physical traits, but a characteristic temperament as well. If you have children, do your research, as s...
The Steps and Costs for Adopting a Dog
Though you may occasionally see a pet owner offering a dog "free to a good home," in general you can expect to pay an adoption fee when you adopt or rescue a dog.
So, how much does it cost to adopt a dog? The fee can vary with the type of organization you adopt from, as well as the part of the country you live in. In general, dog adoption fees can range from $50 to $400, with most of them being right in the middle of that range.
Adoption fees serve several purposes. The money you pay a shelter or rescue group may be used in part to offset their costs of caring for many animals. It may also cover the cost of vaccinating, spaying or neutering, microchipping, or de-worming the dog you take home.
But most importantly, dog adoption fees serve as a screening measure, designed to weed out would-be pet owners who are unwilling or unable to spend money on their pets. Someone who can't spend $200 on dog adoption fees is also unlikely to be able to pay for veterinary care if the dog becomes ill.
Dog adoption fees may also vary depending on the specific dog you choose. Some shelters or rescue groups may ask more for a female than a male, because of the higher cost of spaying versus neutering. Puppy adoption may come with higher fees than adult dogs because of the cost of the initial rounds of vaccinations. And some organizations may cut adoption fees in half for senior or special needs dogs, as an incentive to families to adopt these hard-to-place dogs.
Adoption procedures can vary widely between organizations, but the following is a list of steps that you're likely to encounter during the process.
First, make sure that your lifestyle and finances can accommodate a dog. If you decide on a specific breed, do your research on that breed and make sure you can meet its needs. If you decide on a puppy rather than an older dog, do some research on housebreaking and obedience training and make sure you're up for the tasks.
Look around for a dog that fits your criteria. You may do this by visiting your local pound or shelter, provided it is open to the public. If your local shelter doesn't have visiting hours, or if you decide to adopt a rescue dog, you can find suitable animals online, in the Dogster Adoption area or at www.petfinder.com . You'll be able to search by breed, age and gender within your zip code. You'll also be able to view photos and read descriptions of adoptable dogs in your area.
If you find a dog online, call the shelter or rescue group sponsoring it to arrange a visit. (Some dogs may be in temporary foster homes.) Make sure all members of your family get a chance to meet the dog.
Once you find a dog whose personality is a good fit for your family, you'll be asked to fill out an adoption application. At a municipal pound, this may be just a formality and you may be allowed to take your dog home the same day.
Many shelters and all rescue groups will initiate a screening process, based on your application. Thi...