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Questions to Ask Before Getting a Dog

from a Rescue or Shelter

By Shelley WengerPublished 14 days ago 4 min read
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Photo Courtesy of Canva

I recently wrote an article about getting a dog from a rescue or shelter. You may consider rescuing a dog for many reasons instead of getting a puppy. If you haven't had a chance to read the article, you can check it out right here.

Now that you have decided to find a rescue dog, it can be both exciting and overwhelming. Many go for the first cute rescue that they find, but the truth is that you should choose a dog that will fit into your life instead of one that you can't resist.

Here are some good questions to ask.

Where did he or she come from? Sometimes, a dog has to go to a shelter due to a change in the family. The family might have had the dog since it was a puppy,, so you might be able to get detailed information about the dog, such as training, veterinary records, and any health concerns.

Then, there are dogs that have just been found with no history. They might have gotten lost and find themselves in need of a good home. You might also find dogs that have come from abusive situations. If you have young children or aren't prepared for anything, you may want to look for one that comes with more information.

How long has he or she been at the shelter? Though some dogs stay at the shelter for longer periods of time due to their conditions, the truth is that some dogs get picked over and over for months or years at a time. You should give a dog a home that has been overlooked.

How many homes has this dog already had? If you do choose a dog that has been in the shelter for a while, you may want to find out if he or she has been at multiple homes. Some dogs find themselves in unsuitable homes and are returned. Dogs that have been in multiple homes may need a little extra love and attention (as well as patience) as they adjust to a forever home.

You may also want to make sure that they will take the dog back if it doesn't work out with you. Though you aren't going to want to take a dog home, intending to bring it back, it is a good idea to ensure that you are able if something happens.

What is the dog's personality like? Though you may want to know what breed of dog you are getting, it is more important that you ask about his or her personality. If the dog has spent any time at the shelter, workers will probably know some things about him or her. They will be able to tell you what he or she likes. You might even be able to find out if they enjoy spending time with children, other dogs, or even cats. Workers should be able to tell you whether they enjoy walks on a leash or would prefer someone to play ball with in the yard!

How well is the dog trained? Dogs and puppies that get rescued come in all shapes and sizes (as well as training). Some may have never been outside to use the bathroom, while others may be completely potty-trained. Some may walk well on a leash, while others still have their puppy instincts of biting, chewing, and jumping.

Though any dog may struggle in a new home (and regress), it helps to know how much work will be expected of you when you take in this new dog or puppy.

How healthy is my new friend? Before most dogs and puppies are adopted, they go through a thorough examination by a veterinarian. They usually get fixed if they are not, as well as make sure that they are up-to-date on their vaccines. Many will get tested for intestinal parasites and heartworms before starting on preventative.

Some veterinarians will do bloodwork to make sure that they are sending out healthy patients. However, some rescues take in special cases where they are looking for someone willing to give a good dog with a bad situation a home. You have to make sure that you, your family, and your veterinarian are able to care for this dog properly before you take him or her into your home.

Adopting a dog can be a great way to bring more love into your home. However, you need to be careful and find out as much information as possible about a dog before you bring him or her home. Make sure that you find out why he or she is in the shelter. Did his or her owner get sick and was unable to care for him or her properly? Was the dog or puppy found on the road with no history that you can find? If the shelter has had him or her for awhile, you might want to see how often the dog was adopted and returned.

Then, ask the people at the shelter about the dog. Is he or she friendly or shy? Happy to be out walking or prefer playing? Does the dog get along with other dogs, cats, and children?

You also need to make sure that your new friend is healthy, unless you are willing and able to take care of an older dog who needs some extra love and care. Then, you also need to make sure that you can take the dog back if you have to.

***

Previously published on Medium and/or Newsbreak.

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About the Creator

Shelley Wenger

Small town country girl in southern Pennsylvania. Raising two boys on a small farm filled with horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, dogs, and a cat. Certified veterinary technician and writer at Virtually Shelley.

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