Adopting a Puppy From a Shelter

Rescue Puppies

Adopting a Puppy From a Shelter

So you have decided you would love to welcome a new puppy into your home – but does it have to be a pedigree pup? If not, then animal shelters can offer plenty of great alternatives.

Health and best possible care

Many dog lovers are not fussy about the particular breed, but simply want to offer a loving home to a dog that needs one. Animal shelters are the best place to look if you are keen to adopt a mixed breed or mongrel, even if you are after a puppy! You can also help prevent the number of unwanted puppies from multiplying, as there are plenty waiting for a good home in animal shelters. Selecting one of these puppies can bring advantages to both parties. An animal shelter also has years of experience and will be able to advise you on the best puppy for you and your lifestyle.

Animal shelters will also do their best in terms of socialisation, although puppies here may not have as much interaction with others as they would with a breeder, due to time constraints. However, puppies from shelters often have great characters and are very social around humans and other dogs. Of course, it will depend on your dog’s individual background – has it come from a foreign pound, or was it raised in a loving temporary home? The latter will often leave your dog with as many positive experiences as if a breeder had raised it. In any case, before committing to a rescue dog, be sure to find out as much as possible about its previous life experiences, and make sure that the two of you are compatible.

No matter whether the dog you pick is young or old, any rescue dog will have been vaccinated and wormed, as well as thoroughly checked over, before you take it home. Generally only healthy dogs will be available for adoption, unless you have specifically agreed to take on a dog with a chronic illness. The costs of adopting a dog go towards the care of other rescue dogs, and you get the fantastic chance to offer a young dog a new, brighter future!

little brown puppy with blue eyes © Mary Abramkina /

Rescue puppies versus private breeders

Some people think that it’s all very well and good picking up a puppy from a rescue home, but that, for the same or even less money, you can get a perfectly good mixed-breed puppy from a private breeder – these dogs also need a home!

Something to keep in mind, however, is that owners who privately breed dogs without the appropriate expertise usually have little health care in place and have either simply had the puppies without planning or are just in it for the money. Neither of these options provides the basis for a good purchase, particularly if the puppies also look unwell or do not seem to be well kept. Demand regulates the supply, meaning that, for every puppy you “buy out” of unpleasant breeding conditions, another one takes its place. In case of any doubts about the health and wellbeing of animals, it is best to notify the RSPCA at once.

In general, animals from rescue shelters will have undergone better health checks and will have been reliably vaccinated and wormed. Reputable shelters will also make sure that the puppy they give you is suited to you and that the pairing is in the long-term best interests of the dog.

The search for the dream puppy

Puppies from a rescue shelter are as diverse and varied as the dog world itself! You may or may not have certain characteristics you are looking for in a dog, but the best port of call is always your local animal rescue shelter. Even if they do not currently have a dog that meets your wishes, they may know of other homes or organisations that can help you. There is also the advantage that you can easily visit any puppies that are currently homed nearby. If there is nowhere obvious locally that can help, then the Internet is a great place to start. May animal welfare organisations advertise the numerous puppies they have looking for homes online. You can even adopt a puppy from abroad, although there are various tips you should follow if you plan on doing this.

Cute brown puppy © Evdoha /

Matching you and your puppy

Once you have found the perfect puppy, the animal rescue shelter will want to get to know you a little better before entrusting you with one of their precious residents. One of their main concerns is ensuring that the dog does not end up back in a shelter a few months from now. Initial conversations and checking that you have a clear interest in the dog will usually precede an inspection of your home, in which a member of the respective animal protection association will check that your living conditions are fit for the dog. If you live in a rented flat, you will need to provide written permission from your landlord to keep a pet. After positive inspections, it’s all just down to the formalities.

A puppy from a welfare centre will need to have its microchip changed, as well as vaccinations and insurance. You may also receive starter packs of food and other advice to help you out, but from here on in the responsibility is yours. Your new pet can move in from the age of eight weeks. Some animal lovers are surprised to discover that it costs money to re-home an animal shelter dog – after all, you are already offering the dog a place to live! Puppies are often even more expensive than older animals that may have been waiting longer for a new home. However, this fee helps to recover some of the costs of homing these dogs temporarily, and helps to support other dogs that are still in the shelter. Most shelters will also be able to help you in the coming months, offering support and advice whenever you need it.

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