There is always controvery over the choices that people make. There is always that one person who can find the wrong in any decision that anyone makes. It is just in human nature to judge people on their actions in hopes of them making the "right" choice, in the eyes of strangers anyway. But there is always a phrase that floats around and everyone hears it at least once in their lifetime. "Adopt don't shop". What does that mean for people? This means going to shelters and giving a stray dog or abandoned dog the chance to have a good home with a family.
But is this truly the right way?
Would this truly be the best choice for people to make?
While giving a dog that has never truly had a family a home sounds great, there are many problems that could develop. There are many great things that you would never experience had you never stepped foot in that shelter and saw those big eyes staring at you. But did you truly make the right choice?
Here is a scenario:
You see a small white dog cowering in the corner. He was just recently taken from a home that did not treat him well. He has fears, anxieties, and a look that shows that he has seen many things that most animals shouldn't. You can't help yourself and you sign those papers. You put your name on that line stating you will care for that dog and give him the best of life. In the car, you are feeling proud. You just saved a dog from most likely being euthanized because there are so many shelters that are too full. You would give this guy the life he deserves. But does it really end there? What about after the first day? The second day? The first week? You can see things you didn't see the first time because you were on this high of doing the "right" thing. He barks at people but you make up the excuse "Oh he is just a little scared, it's normal. He is from a shelter". He starts peeing in the house but the excuse "Their previous owner didn't train him right, he doesn't know better". Maybe there are times he growls at family members. You make an excuse. He sometimes is snappy with you. You make an excuse. He does this. He does that. Excuses galore. You see where I'm going with this.
There are no excuses.
You adopted a dog, most likely older because no one will truly give up a dog while they are still cute to them. They were not raised, trained, or treated right.
You signed those papers and took responsibilty for that dog.
And all the problems they brought with them.
You don't just get a perfect dog. You got a hurt dog with trust issues, with anxiety, with medical issues, ect. You can't expect the dog to just figure it out without your help. You can't just think "Well I'm not their old owner, they won't need to fear me or be aggressive". That is the thought process of someone who doesn't understand what it is like for a dog, who was never trained or developed issues that simply weren't fixed, to then be taken away from the only people they may have trusted. Only to then be put in a cage where they are stared at by many strangers, big and small, coming too close for their comfort. There is no escape for them. They are there until they are taken into a room and never come out or they are "lucky" to find someone who puts a leash on them and takes them home. A home they have never been to, a place where they don't know where they are, and with strangers, they don't trust.
Sure they can get used to living there. But are the anxieties gone too? Did all the memories of their past float away, never to return?
They are still there. They may always be there.
But you don't realize that, do you?
You thought that just bringing that dog into your home would be sunshine all day every day. But it's not. What have you done to gain their trust other than giving food and water? What have you done to make them not cower when people come over? What have you done to stop them from jumping, chewing, barking, or growling at everything that moves? It's not going to go away. You don't just do something in the heat of the moment and then not care for it. So now you are thinking "What do I do then?".
You train them.
Teach them that people aren't scary. Train them that jumping isn't welcome so that grandma can walk into the house without the fear of being knocked over. Train them basic commands so you can actually build a relationship of respect, understand, and trust. Train them.
Just because you paid that $60 fee doesn't mean you get the dog of your dreams. That $60 dollars is only the first fee. You will be going to the vet. You might even need to get a dog trainer to help you. A dog needs distractions like toys. $60 is not a one time fee. It's only the fee to start the journey. Are you willing to put in $100, $200, $3000 into this dog you brought into your home? Are you willing to do everything in your power until you can't for this dog? Will this dog really be able to rely on you?
If there is a limit, then why adopt? Why give this dog the slightest hope that they found a good family only to be sent back a week later because "He's way too hyper". Why take him and give him back because "He isn't friendly with dogs". They give you information when you see him. You would have at least gotten some indication from the notes or even the personality they had when you first saw the dog. The dog was jumping, barking, and circling the kennel and you thought this would be a great fit for your family even though you can't even make yourself breakfast because then you would have to actually get out of bed. What made you think this was a good fit?
If you're going to even think about adopting, think about this. If you can't put in the effort. If you can't give them two walks a day. If you can't even remember to feed them in the morning.
Adoption isn't for you. Neither is any pet for that matter.
But if you are one of those people who will not give up on a dog just because they have to be the only dog, have a high prey drive and will bounce off the wall if not walked three times a day, or because they are so scared they may need to be medicated...why are you reading this right now? Go get that dog that needs that unconditional love that you can give them. Show them there is more than just the bland painted walls in the shelter. Adopt them and keep them by your side.
Adoption may be good. But it isn't good for the dog if the family that gets them doesn't put in the effort to actually make them family. This may sound bitter to some people who think they can do it and that others are just trying to "stop them from getting happiness" or something. But I don't care. No one does. If you can't do the work, don't do it halfway. Don't do it at all. It's a waste of your time, the dog's time, and the shelter that you went to time. The only time I want to see you back at that shelter with the same dog is with a smile on your face and you saying the words "I want to volunteer" or "My buddy needs a new friend".