I firmly believe one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to adopt a shelter dog. Both of my dogs are from shelters. They have made me laugh and cry and I’m s-o-o-o happy I took the plunge with each of them. What a gift!
Are shelter dogs right for everyone? Absolutely not. You never really know what you’ve got until you get your new friend home. And odds are even that your dog will need specialized attention and care for health or behavior issues for some period of time. Unless you’re willing to be patient and work with your pup, you have no business having a dog at all – and especially not a shelter dog who may well have had traumatic experiences.
For example, my lab, China was starved and afraid of everything. It took 6 months and many vet trips to get her healthy. My border collie mix, Chelsea, wasn’t house trained and knew absolutely nothing about basic obedience.
Given that, you might ask how I can say that getting a shelter dog is a great gift to yourself.
There is nothing more rewarding than watching a dog blossom into their true personalities. Seeing a dog learn how to play for the first time is a delight. And watching them grow as they learn new behaviors and have new experiences is so much fun! And they do thank you for it in so many ways!I have a friend who adopted a little terrier mix from a shelter over a year ago. When she got Max, he was within a few days of being euthanized. He was aggressive, distrusting and bit everyone in sight – often with no warning. It has taken almost a year, but the change in this guy is just amazing.
While he still has moments (his nickname is Cujo) he has become a playful pup that is a joy to watch and spend time with. He now plays with her other dog, loves going to the dog park, and shows interest in others. He no longer growls at everything that moves and actually plays with new friends. He is a delight!
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, ask yourself:
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