Hey Lovelies, back again to do the research so you don’t have to! Today we’re here to chat about dog adoptions. There are so many options available to you, even if you’re looking for a specific breed or age. There are many breed specific rescues that you can work with to find the right dog. You can also look on sites like Adoptapet.com or petfinder.com that will allow you to filter through breed, age, and/or size to try to find the dog you want from a shelter or rescue.
What is the difference between a rescue and a shelter? A dog shelter is your stereotypical dog pound environment. They are meant to house large quantities of dogs for short periods of time2. There are three different categories of shelters: no kill, low kill, and high kill. Shelters typically don’t have time or resources to care for dogs that have special needs or do not pass all of their temperament tests2. If it’s a high kill shelter, the dogs that don’t pass these tests are put down5. A high kill shelter has no restrictions on bringing in dogs5. Just drop it off and they’ll take it, no questions asked. On average dog spends 9.5 days in a high kill shelter before being adopted or euthanized6. Any animal that the shelter deems unadoptable or gets sick or aggressive will be ethunized5. Low kill shelters typically take in animals based on their adoptablity5. Low kill and no kill shelters work with fosters and rescues to help accommodate all the animals they are able too5. Another factor in euthanasia and stay length is whether the dog is perceived to be a ‘bully’ breed6. Typically this impacts the high kill shelters more than any other. I will be going more in-depth with pit bull information and discriminatory breed legislation next week so stay tuned! Rescues are intended to cater to specific breed needs or dogs that have needs greater than what a shelter can comfortably handle3. Euthanizing a dog is a last resort for animals too sick for a decent standard of living.
Issues with adopting arrive when the rescues or shelters care more about stopping the increase of puppies than the care of individual dogs. Because of this I would recommend doing research on the rescues you get your dog from. One example is the increasingly early spaying and neutering practices. There is no perfect timeframe you can place on all dogs on when to have them desexed, it is dependent on both breed type and individual dog4. Doing this too early however is proven to cause issues4. These issues range from behavioral, to joint and ligament issues, even cancer7. When I took my German Shepherd to the vet they looked at how her pelvis was forming to recommend a time good time frame on when to spay her as well as her breed type. It’s important to remember all breeds and individual dogs have different recommended times if you choose to desex them. I’ve included an example of a rescue aggressively putting spay and neuter before health.
So you’re looking to bring home a dog why should you adopt from a shelter?
· You’re able to find the dog you’re looking for or have no preference on type.
· It’s much cheaper to obtain a fixed and vetted dog from a shelter rather than paying to have a dog fixed and vetted. From personal experience obtaining a fixed and vaccinated dog from a shelter costs about $200. After the price of a purchased dog to go have these procedures done is $200 for spay (depending on dog size) and $200 for all of the vaccine series.
Why you might not adopt from a shelter?
· You’re looking for a specific breed/age and are unable to find it at local shelters.
· You don’t want to spay or neuter your pet for showing, breeding, or other reasons.
· Some rescues make it incredibly difficult to adopt from. My brother was looking to rescue an Australian Cattle Dog. The rescues said that because his dog experience wasn’t in this specific breed he could not adopt. Even though he has experience with other high energy herd dogs like German Shepherds as well as a springer spaniel/border collie cross, it wasn’t enough to adopt through them.
As long as you have the health and happiness of the animal in the forefront of your mind there’s really no right answer to buy or adopt. Except PETA. PETA is bad. (The amount of times their shelter came up in my research was disgusting) Let me know if you’d like a blog on them or anything else for that matter!
Position Statement on Responsibilities of Animal Shelters. ASPCA.org. Accessed on 8 June 2021.
Sandra Newbury, Mary K Blinn, et al. Published 2010 Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. The Association of Shelter Veterinarians.
What Is An Animal Rescue Organization? Labrador Retriever Rescue. Accessed on 9 June 2021.
Lisa M Howe. Published online 8 May 2015 Current perspectives on the optimal age to spay/castrate dogs and cats. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports
Julie LeRoy. Updated 6 December 2017. The Plight Of Shelter Animals. Huffpost.
Gunther LM, Barber RT, Wynne CDL. 23 August 2018. A canine identity crisis: Genetic breed heritage testing of shelter dogs. Journals.Plos.org. Accessed on 10 June 2021.
Dana Scott. Early Spay and Neuter: 3 Reasons to Reconsider. 15 June 2020. DogsNaturallyMagazine.com. Accessed on 10 June 2021.