The situation in South African dog welfare is dire. Our shelters are overflowing with dogs needing homes, and they keep flowing in. If you are looking to welcome a dog into your family, adoption is certainly a good option, but it is important that you are well prepared.
By adopting a dog you are saving a life – it’s a tremendously satisfying experience, and in many cases the dog does adjust well to his new family. And this is how it should be, which is why it’s so important to be well prepared for your adoption. Most shelters do their utmost to match the dogs with their perfect homes.
6 adoption tips
- Decide what kind of dog would suit your lifestyle before you visit the shelter. Do you want a couch potato or a jogging partner? Are you willing to take the time to regularly groom a longhaired dog, or do you prefer a wash-and-go sort of pooch?
- Rather keep the kids at home for the first shelter visit. Your child might lose his heart on a dog who doesn’t suit your requirements, resulting in unnecessary tears. Rather narrow it down to two or three options before you take the kids to meet the dogs.
- If you have a cat at home, ask the shelter staff if the dog you have in mind has been tested with cats and if he will accept them.
- If you have dogs at home, it is advisable that a meet-and-greet is organised to see the interaction between your current dogs and your potential addition to the family.
- Don’t be shy! Ask the shelter staff all the questions you can think of – especially concerning the health, history and temperament of the dog.
- Do set some of your budget aside should you need the help of a qualified animal behaviourist. Every dog deserves a happy home, but sometimes, especially in the case of a traumatic past, a little help is needed. Don’t give up on your adopted dog – there is help out there. Your dog deserves that commitment from you.