Pooch Pickins

On behalf of all the animal shelters across CT, THANK YOU for waiting to get a pooch until AFTER Christmas! You followed our advice and gave the Petfinder’s adoption contract to the recipient and now that Christmas is over, you’re ready to go pick out that great companion! Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or iguana that you’re going to pick out, the advice we’re going to give you fits!

Now that you’ve decided to get a pet, let’s go over some basics. First, you’ve weighed the good and bad and decided that yeppers, you really want one. Wonderful! Your next step is to do some research on what you want. For ease, I’ll just stick to dogs…

Do you want an active breed or a breed that will just be a potato, like you! Do you like big, small, medium, long haired, short haired, male or female? Do you want one that will be protective or one that will greet with slobbering kisses? Need help? Click on this web site and take the test.. Which Dog Is Right For You | Lifescript.com

Ok- don’t have a computer? Get this book from the library – “The Encyclopedia of the Dog”. Browse the book (or any book like this) and look at all the breeds. Then READ ABOUT THEM…. Like two breeds? Wonderful! This will be discussed later…

Now that you’ve picked a breed you like, call your local kennel club and ask for a breeder. WHAAAAAAAT????? Go to a BREEDER????? Yepper. Go to a breeder and ASK QUESTIONS! What’s this dog REALLY like? What kind of lifestyle does this dog require? Does this dog require grooming frequently? Some breeds have waxy coats (Rottweilers, Beagles and other hounds can have waxy coats that might not be to your liking)…does the breed you’re looking at have one? How long does this breed typically live (the smaller they are, the longer they generally live. The larger they are, the shorter they live).. Does this breed have any health issues? Great Danes can have bad hearts. German Shepherds can have hip and elbow issues. How hard is it to housebreak this breed? Generally, the smaller the breed, the harder it is to housebreak.

Oh, and by the way – if it IS a pure-bred you’re looking for, most breeders have rescue dogs, too….or they know where to get one!

Ok, you’ve had your questions answered. Now it’s time to look! This is where the comment about the two breeds comes in.

Go to http://www.Petfinder.com and on the left side there will be a few things to fill in. Put in the breed you most like under the “breed” category. When you hit the “enter”, a bunch of dogs will come up – most will be mixes, but all will have your primary breed listed.

Then CALL the places that show you dogs you like! ASK about these dogs – Why were they turned in? DO THEY HAVE A BITE HISTORY??? Are they up to date on vaccinations, etc? Are they spayed or neutered (altered)? IS THERE A RETURN POLICY (do NOT forget this one!). What’s the adoption fee (some are outrageous and some are great – but ASK before you say YES). Are there any requirements for obtaining this dog? Most will have applications that need to be filled out. Don’t freak.

As a rescue, I need to have you fill out an application to ensure that the dog you’re looking at will fit into your lifestyle and family. Be HONEST when filling the application out. I don’t want my dog coming back to me because you weren’t honest on the application and ended up getting a dog that won’t work well for you of both our animals and you in mind.

And remember this – the dogs that are in rescue are not perfect. They’ve been dumped because someone didn’t train them well enough, someone ignored them, someone beat them or someone just didn’t have time for them. There are as many reasons for dogs getting into pounds and shelters as there are dogs.

We, as rescues, try our hardest to help these dogs overcome their issues but you won’t get the perfect dog by any means. What you WILL get is an incredibly grateful animal who will jump through fire for you if you show it love and give it time.

So whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or iguana that you get from a shelter, with a little love and patience you will soon have a friend that will love you forever. So happy searching!

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