When looking for a dog, dog adoption centers should be your first choice. Millions of dogs are placed in adoption centers, animal shelters, and rescue groups every year, and adopting a dog--as opposed to purchasing one from a breeder or pet store--will help to reduce the number of dogs who aren't able to find a family. But adopting a dog is a serious decision and not one to be taken lightly. When visiting a dog adoption center, the following considerations should be made.
Before you adopt a dog, it's vital to take a realistic look at whether you can handle the responsibilities associated with owning a dog. Dog ownership requires time, money, space, and attention--not to mention love. Before adopting a dog, make sure you have the necessary resources to give your new pet the life it deserves. Can you afford the food, medicine, and veterinary care that a dog requires? Do you have the free time necessary to give your dog the proper care and attention? Is your house big enough to accommodate an active dog? If you have children, are they mature and responsible enough to co-exist? These questions must be considered before you make the decision to adopt a dog.
Once you've determined that you can handle owning a dog, there are numerous options for adopting. Dog adoption centers and shelters are plentiful, and the ASPCA website maintains a database of the reputable adoption centers in your area. You can even find breed-specific dog rescue groups if you have an exact breed in mind to adopt. When visiting the shelter, talk to the staff about just what kind of dog you want to adopt. Besides breed, you want to make sure the dog's temperament is in line with what you're looking for. Many shelter dogs have been abused by prior owners, and they unfortunately may not be manageable in your home, especially if you have children. Make sure to ask the dog adoption center staff lots of questions, and don't be afraid to take your time with your decision.