When you get a dog online, you know virtually nothing about the dog or the person behind the dog. You have no idea what you're getting into or what the real story is with respect to the dog's health or background. Puppy stores also have the reputation of getting many of their puppies from puppy mills, where the breeding dogs are kept in horrific conditions. If you don't want to support or encourage those efforts, you can still get the dog breed of your dreams from a breed specific rescue organization.
Do a Google search of rescue organizations for the breed of dog you want and you'll no doubt find a bunch of listings. For example, I adopted Phoebe from the county shelter when I lived in Phoenix. She's a Havanese (a mix actually). Phoebe is such a sweet, smart little dog, typical for that breed. If I wanted to get another Havanese dog or puppy, I'd do a search on "Havanese Rescue Organizations in New York". That search turns up at least 8 listings of places I could adopt a Havanese dog from, here in New York.
I could scour all the local animal shelters and adoption web sites waiting for that perfect Havanese to appear, but I may not be successful anytime soon. Although many purebred (and designer) dogs pass through shelters, it's hit or miss and they tend to get adopted quickly. As an Adoption Counselor at the shelter, I could always tell which dogs would go fast. Most of the purebreds and Anything-A-Poo type dogs were the first to get adopted.
While I was volunteering at the Phoenix shelter, I kept searching for a Siberian Husky puppy to come into the shelter. I had everyone on alert in case one came through. At the time, I really wanted a puppy but of the very few Huskies that came through our shelter the youngest one was nearly a year old. I had just started volunteering and wasn't aware that there were specific rescue organizations out there, lots of them. Now I know better!
One of the benefits of adopting a dog from a rescue is that unlike many animal shelters, most rescues have the resources and the time to really get to know the pets in their care. They can work with the dog on issues such as walking on leash, potty training, or behavioral issues like resource guarding or fearfulness. They're able to spend the time needed to prepare the dog for adoption and find the right person or family to facilitate a successful adoption. Shelters don't usually have that luxury, especially municipal shelters.
If you think you might be ready for a puppy or a dog soon, start researching rescue organizations for the breed of dog you want now. It can take time to find that specific breed of dog ready to be adopted from a quality rescue. If you're willing and able to drive into a neighboring state to get your dream dog, expand your online search to include rescues in neighboring states as well. Locate a couple of rescues that may be able to supply you with the pup you want. If they have a Facebook page, start connecting with them! Let them get to know you. Don't be that stranger who emails and says "Hi, I want a French Bulldog puppy... can I come get one this weekend?". It won't go over very well.
Rescues aren't like the county shelter, with totally open adoption policies. They're usually pretty careful about who they adopt their dogs out to. Expect them to ask you some questions - possibly lots of questions! They want to make sure the dog is going to the right home and that the owner and dog are a good fit.
Be prepared before you reach out to a breed specific rescue organization. You want to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the breed of dog you want and that you understand the needs of the breed. For example, if you wanted a Husky they'll want to be sure you understand that a Husky is a very high energy dog that needs a ton of exercise and that they can be sly escape artists. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and have no fenced in yard, you might be rejected as a Husky adopter.
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Don't feel offended if the rescue organization asks questions about your home environment, your lifestyle, and whether or not you can afford Veterinary care. They're asking because they want to make a good match for the dog and for you, one that will last the dog's lifetime. When you initially connect with the rescue, try to find out what their adoption requirements are so you will be prepared.
When we are ready to add another Husky to our family, I definitely want that Husky to be a rescue. I already know the rescue organization I want to work with and I'm connected with them on Facebook. I also have a secondary Husky rescue on the back burner if needed!
I hope this will help you Adopt Don't Shop even if you have your heart set on a specific breed of dog or cat. Happy Tails!!
You may also like these related posts:
8 Questions To Ask Before Adopting A Dog
Finding Homes Through Animal Shelter Transport
A Puppy For Christmas? Wait, Not So Fast!
Have you adopted a pet from a breed specific rescue, or do you plan to? Tell us about it in the comments, you know how much we love hearing from you!
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