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I’d like to discuss my personal dog rescue experience, and share some tips that I learned along the way. My wife and I decided that we wanted to rescue a dog as opposed to going through a breeder for the new addition to our family. We are fortunate to live in Chicago, which is home to PAWS, the city’s largest no-kill humane and adoption center. Since PAWS was founded in 1997, the killing rate of homeless animals in Chicago has been reduced by half.
Know before you go
When rescuing or adopting a dog, it’s important to have a general idea of what size dog you desire, its behavioral traits, and if you’re trying to find a specific breed. Some rescue organizations will allow you to view the dogs available for adoption and provide other pertinent information such as breed and personality. Some organizations will also have you complete a questionnaire to help match certain dogs with you. For example, if you have never owned a dog, then they will not want to match you with a dog that will require an experienced dog owner. Also, if you’re someone that will not be home for long periods of time, then they won’t recommend that you adopt a young puppy. Some organizations will actually perform a site inspection to ensure that the dog will be going to a good home.
We used the PAWS website to research the dogs before going to their adoption center. The good news with PAWS is that dogs spend little time at the adoption center and there is a very high number of dogs finding homes quickly. The bad news is that you need to be prepared to take a dog home with you on the day that you visit the adoption center.
Patience pays off
We searched for the right match for us for quite some time. During our multiple visits to PAWS, we learned a few things when trying to find the perfect match for our home. First, when you get to play with a dog that you’re considering adopting, there is a good chance that you won’t see the dog’s real personality. The dogs are probably scared in their new environment at the adoption agency, as well as many of the dogs having been recently spayed or neutered. You should be patient with the dog and ask to review their file. There might be some important facts related to their history included in the file that could explain why dog is acting a certain way or that might give an indication of how the dog might behave in the future.
I’ll give you an example of what our dog experienced in less than 48 hours. A PAWS representative rescued our dog, Penny (pictured above), from a kill shelter in Chicago. Penny was then taken to the PAWS medical clinic where she was spayed and spent the night, and then the following day, wearing the Cone of Shame and probably still feeling the effects of the surgery, she was brought to the adoption center. Around 6 p.m. that evening, my wife and I found Penny in need of a good home. We were lucky enough to take home our 8-month-old Labrador mix puppy that had a fun and outgoing personality.
I would highly recommend rescuing a dog. As it turns out, we needed Penny as much as she needed us. In your hometown, there are probably quite a few adoption agencies. Check out AnimalShelter.org to find a shelter in your hometown.
Do you have any rescue or adoption stories you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.