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Shelters have lovable dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes and ages.

Shelters have lovable dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes and ages. Your chances of finding a wonderful companion who matches your lifestyle and family are excellent! About 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. The rest make up the best selection anywhere of one-of-a-kind mixed breeds, many of whom have already lived with families and have the basic social skills they need to become an enjoyable part of your household.

Why Adopt a Dog from a Shelter?

  • You Can Help Save Lives! One of the most rewarding aspects of adopting a shelter dog is the simple fact that you’re saving a life and giving a deserving animal a new home. It feels great to help an animal in need, and after living in a shelter, your new dog will be especially appreciative of the wonderful life you’re going to give him.
  • Shelter Dogs Make Great Pets. Many dogs end up in shelters because of circumstances beyond their control, and are healthy, affectionate animals. Any dog—young or old, mixed breed or purebred—will likely need some training or retraining to learn how to fit into his new household and become your cherished companion.

Before You Go to the Shelter

  • Identify your needs. Are you a single adult looking for a dog who can go everywhere with you? Are you a parent looking for a dog who loves children? Do you have other dogs or cats at home? Do you have a quiet, mostly sedentary lifestyle or are you active and looking for an exercise partner? What age? Puppies can be irresistible, but raising them properly takes a lot of time and hard work. Most adult dogs only require a bit of basic obedience training and a house-training refresher.

During Your Shelter Visit

  • Talk to the staff. In well-run shelters, particularly those with regular volunteers, staff members usually become familiar with the personality of each resident dog through daily interactions and volunteer reports.
  • Spend quality time with your top choices. Take advantage of all opportunities to interact with the dogs you’re considering. As you visit with each dog, think about your list of expectations and needs.

Making Your Choice

  • Use your head as well as your heart. Although your initial emotions and reactions to a dog are a good starting place, please don’t let them be your only guide. Your new dog will be a part of your family for years to come, so base your decision on your objective observations of the dog’s apparent physical and behavioral health as well.


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