To adopt or not to adopt?
To adopt or not to adopt?
That is the question I asked myself after my Yellow Lab “Potato” died at the age of 11. I felt inconsolable. Was I ever going to recover from the sadness? Probably not completely, but I knew from experience there was one way to feel better – find a new dog to love.
I had never adopted a dog, always buying a purebred puppy. I discovered via social media how many abandoned, abused, recklessly crossbred, and kicked to the curb dogs are desperate for a second chance at love and a caring home. How could I turn my back knowing this? There was no longer a question, I would adopt.
“Where to start?” loomed next. There are many great not-for-profit organizations that rescue and rehabilitate dogs. I am a huge fan of National Mill Dog Rescue based outside of Colorado Springs, for their incredible work rescuing dogs from puppy mills, but did not want to travel that far. Instead I headed out to a local shelter to look for my new companion.
The shelter is a sad place, filled with dogs desperately wanting out. I walked from cage to cage knowing little about each dog except for a brief sheet of information attached to their cold, cement cell. My heart hurt. I spotted a little, red, female, terrier type jumping up and down for attention. She was scraggly, and awkwardly long, but her eyes and face were absolutely adorable. Miraculously she fit the name I had been saving for years…”Tulip”. Blindly adopting like this is a crap shoot as you know nothing about the dog’s temperament, physical condition, training, whether they can play well with other dogs or are even fearful of people.
Are you a gambler?
There is a better, much more reliable way. Trust an accredited rescue organization like “Dogs Without Borders.” These people take those first steps for you so there is little question as to what you’re adopting. The dogs are rescued from shelters, medically examined and treated if needed, cleaned up, micro-chipped, neutered, inoculated and placed in reliable, competent foster care in order to adjust and transition to home life. When “Dogs Without Borders” believes the dog/puppy is ready for a “forever” home they are put up for adoption via their website or one of two adoption fairs they hold every week! The dogs stay with their foster home until they are finally adopted, thus continuing their socialization process.
This process gives anyone looking to adopt a chance to actually talk to the foster parent and get a real sense what to expect. Each dog has a biography describing exactly how it behaves, if it likes children, other dogs, or needs to be in a special home environment. There are few stones left unturned! There is even a “foster to adopt” program where you take the dog home with the intention of adopting, but if it doesn’t work out in the first week you can return the dog. This creates a fail-safe situation for you and the dog.
I love my little rescue Tulip, she is truly living the dream and admittedly so am I. I got very lucky in finding an easy well adjusted dog but my best advice is to go the not-for-profit rescue route.
In wondering whether to adopt or not …ADOPT don’t shop! You are saving two lives – a dogs and yours!
Gail F is a Dogs Without Borders volunteer who joins us at our weekly adoption events. Come find your perfect match!