Welcome back to” You Decide”,.
This Sunday March 18, 2012 at 9 PM Eastern and 6 PM Pacific time, we will continue with our new “You Decide” radio talk show featuring a wonderful guest host, the very talented actor, Mr. Cliff Simon!
Why on earth would anyone want to adopt a rescued dog or cat? After all, aren’t they like used cars? Who wants someone else’s problems? If the dog or cat is so wonderful, why would anyone give him away? If he was a stray, why didn’t someone try to find him? I’d rather buy a puppy or kitten so I know what I’m getting, and besides they’re so cute!”
Animal rescue organizations often hear a variation of this conversation. Many prospective dog and cat owners are just not convinced that owning an older (i.e, 6 mo.+) “pre-owned” dog or cat is better than buying a puppy or kitten. But there are a number of reasons why adopting a dog or cat from a rescue that carefully screens and evaluates its potential pets can provide an even better alternative. Here are the “Top 10 Reasons You Should Consider a Rescue (adoption).”
In a Word – Housebroken With most family members gone during the work week for 8 hours or more, house training a puppy and its small bladder can take awhile. Puppies need a consistent schedule with frequent opportunities to eliminate where you want them to. They cannot wait for the boss to finish his meeting or the kids to come home from after school activities. An older dog can “hold it” much more reliably for longer time periods, and usually the rescue has him housebroken before he is adopted.
A Good Night’s Sleep Forget the alarm clocks and hot water bottles, a puppy can be very demanding at 2am and 4am and 6am. He misses his litter mates, and that stuffed animal will not make a puppy pile with him. If you have children, you’ve been there and done that. How about a little peace and quiet? How about an older rescue dog?
Finish the Newspaper With a puppy running amok in your house, do you think you will be able to relax when you get home from work? Do you think your kids will really feed him, clean up the messes, take him for a walk in the pouring rain every hour to get him house trained? With an adult dog, it will only be the kids running amok, because your dog will be sitting calmly next to you, while your workday stress flows away and your blood pressure lowers as you pet him.
Easier Vet Trips Those puppies need their series of puppy shots and fecals, then their rabies shot, then a trip to be altered, maybe an emergency trip or two if they’ve chewed something dangerous. Those puppy visits can add up (on top of what you paid for the dog). Your donation to the rescue when adopting an older pup should get you a dog with all shots current, already altered, heartworm negative and on preventative at the minimum.
What You See Is What You Get How big will that puppy be? What kind of temperament will he have? Will he be easily trained? Will his personality be what you were hoping for? How active will he be? When adopting an older dog from a rescue, all of those questions are easily answered. You can pick large or small; active or couch potato; goofy or brilliant; sweet or sassy. The rescue and its foster homes can guide you to pick the right match. (Many dog rescues are full of puppies who became the wrong match as they got older!)
Unscarred Children (and Adults) When the puppy isn’t teething on your possessions, he will be teething on your children and yourself. Many dog rescues routinely get called from panicked parents who are sure their dog is biting the children. Since biting implies hostile intent and would be a consideration whether we accept their give-up, we ask questions and usually find out the dog is being nippy. Parents are often too emotional to see the difference; but a growing puppy is going to put everything from food to clothes to hands in their mouths, and as they get older and bigger it definitely hurts (and will get worse, if they aren’t being corrected properly.) Most older dogs have “been there, done that, moved on.”
Matchmaker Make Me a Match Puppy love is often no more than an attachment to a look or a color. It is not much of a basis on which to make a decision that will hopefully last 15+ years. While that puppy may have been the cutest of the litter; he may grow up to be super active (when what you wanted was a couch buddy); she may be a couch princess (when what you wanted was a tireless hiking companion); he may want to spend every waking moment in the water (while you’re a landlubber); or she may want to be an only child (while you are intending to have kids or more animals). Pet mis-matches are one of the top reasons rescues get give-up phone calls. Good rescues do extensive evaluating of both their dogs and their applicants to be sure that both dog and family will be happy with each other until death due them part.
Instant Companion With an older dog, you automatically have a buddy that can go everywhere and do everything with you NOW. There is no waiting for a puppy to grow up (and then hope he will like to do what you enjoy.) You will have been able to select the most compatible dog: one that travels well; one that loves to play with your friends’ dogs; one with excellent house manners that you can take to your parents’ new home with the new carpet and the new couch. You can come home after a long day’s work and spend your time on a relaxing walk, ride or swim with your new best friend (rather than cleaning up after a small puppy.)
Bond, Doggy Bond Dogs who have been uprooted from their happy homes or have not had the best start in life are more likely to bond very completely and deeply with their new people. Those who have lost their families through death, divorce or lifestyle change go through a terrible mourning process. But, once attached to a new loving family, they seem to want to please as much as possible to make sure they are never homeless again. Those dogs that are just learning about the good life and good people seem to bond even deeper. They know what life on the streets, life on the end of a chain, or worse is all about, and they revel and blossom in a nurturing, loving environment. Most rescues make exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions.
Unfortunately, many folks think dogs that end up in rescue are all genetically and behaviorally inferior. But, it is not uncommon for rescue organizations to get $500-1000 dogs that have either outlived their usefulness or their novelty with impulsive owners who considered their dog a possession rather than a friend or member of the family, or simply did not really consider the time,
effort and expense needed to be a dog owner. Good breeders love their animals and are concerned with their welfare and future. Responsible breeders may not be able to refund your money, but they will accept your dog back and take the responsibility of re-homing him/her if you can no longer care for him/her. Good rescues will evaluate the dog before accepting him/her (medically, behaviorally, and for breed confirmation), rehabilitate if necessary, and adopt the animal only when he/she is ready and to a home that matches and is realistic about the commitment necessary to provide the dog with the best home possible.
Choosing a rescue dog over a purchased pup will not solve the pet overpopulation problem (only responsible pet owners and breeders can do that), but it does give many of them a chance they otherwise would not have. But, beyond doing a “good deed”, adopting a rescue dog can be the best decision and addition to the family you ever made.
RESCUE A DOG AND GET A DEVOTED FRIEND FOR LIFE!
The only way you can be sure that the puppy in the pet store did not come a female dog just like Hope is to never buy a dog in a pet store.
When Linda, an Hearts United for Animals volunteer and director, picked the little dog up at the commercial kennel in Kansas, she was horrified. She did not think that the dog would live long enough to make it back to the shelter. Linda called the shelter on her way back and asked to have our vet standing by. She
took the dog directly to the clinic. Hope weighed just two pounds. She had lost almost all of her hair from malnutrition, infection and stress. Her teeth were rotten. Infection had spread throughout her tiny body. Linda asked the vet if there was any hope for her. He said there was a little hope. So she became Hope.
Hope has touched the heart of everyone who has met her. If you ever wondered about what puppy mills were like, all you have to do is look at Hope’s face. Look at the expression in her eyes. Look at her emaciated body. Then tell everyone you know never to buy a dog in a pet store.
Hope is a Maltese. She was 6 years old when she was rescued. Her first days of freedom were spent at the vet’s where they worked to save her life. She went home to Linda. Her health was still very precarious. She gained weight very slowly. At first the only food she would eat was Gerber Baby Meat Sticks. It took months for her to gain weight. When she had her teeth cleaned, she lost 22 teeth.
Her first trip out to the yard was very surprising to her. She had no idea what it was. She had never been outside. At first she was quite timid but gradually she seemed to enjoy herself. Hope is very happy. Her health has always been fragile so she gets very special care.
When you see the cute puppies in the pet store, think of Hope. The kennel she came from in Kansas still sells puppies to pet stores on the East Coast. Please do not buy dogs from pet stores. They come from puppy mills. Puppy mills breed misery.
Thanks to Kenn for staging the ‘Why Should I Adopt A Dog Instead of Buying?’ video in this post for me, and thanks to you for stopping by WormholeRiders News Agency! See you all for dog rescue discussions with Cliff Simon this Sunday 6 PM PST 9 PM EST
Please feel free to leave a comment here, click an icon below to share this interview, or you can visit and follow me on Twitter by clicking on my avatar to the right.